Best time to visit Arizona

Skiing and Snowboarding in Arizona

From San Francisco Peaks to Santa Catalinas, Arizona has plenty of slopes to conquer

Best time: late November–April (February–March)

Skiing and Snowboarding in Arizona
View of the San Francisco Peaks (Agassiz Peak) and the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort from Hart Prairie Road
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Arizona is associated with hot desert rather than snowy peaks, however, its high elevations get a decent amount of snow for a skiing and snowboarding experience. The state has several ski resorts, from Flagstaff area in the north to Tucson in the south. The ski season generally runs from mid-November through April. However, the best months to hit the slopes in Arizona are February and March due to stable cold weather and the considerable amount of snow on the trails.

Ski resorts in Flagstaff

The best ski destination of the Southwest—Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort—is located on the western slope of Humphreys Peak, just north of Flagstaff. Ski or snowboard from an impressive elevation of 11,500 ft (3,505 m) and enjoy stunning views of the San Francisco Peaks range. Arizona Snowbowl offers a diverse experience with a decent number of black diamond trails, but also plenty of space for intermediate and novice riders. It boasts 777 skiable acres, six aerial chairlifts, and two surface conveyors. With an average snowfall of 260 inches (660 cm), the area offers the best surface conditions in late winter and early spring. Elk Ridge Ski Resort is another option, located about a 47-minute drive west of Flagstaff, near the town of Williams, Arizona. The small resort suits beginners and families with children. It offers about 2 mi (3 km) of slopes and 2 lifts. In addition to skiing and snowboarding experiences, it also offers tubing.

Skiing in Greer

The White Mountains located in Eastern Arizona, on the border with New Mexico, also offer skiing and snowboarding. Sunrise Park Ski Resort takes riders up to 11,100 ft (3,400 m) in elevation and offers about 800 skiable acres (320 ha) on three peaks: Sunrise Peak, Cyclone Peak, and Apache Peak. The resort is operated by the White Mountain Apache Tribe, and usually opens in December and closes in March. Peak ski season runs from mid-January to mid-February. Sunrise Park has a snowboard terrain park and cross-country skiing trails.

Skiing in Tucson

The Santa Catalina Mountains in Southern Arizona get a decent amount of snow in the winter, and their height is enough to keep it from melting. Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley is located at the highest peak of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The resort features 5.2 mi (8.5 km) of slopes and three lifts that take skiers and snowboarders as high as 9,022 ft ( 2,750 m). One of the southernmost ski destinations in the US, Mt. Lemmon receives 180 inches (460 cm) of snowfall every year. However, the snow there is most reliable in mid-winter, specifically, February. The resort generally stays open from mid-December to April. And mind that it's closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. There is no grooming on the slopes, so the terrain can be challenging. Catalina Highway, which leads to Mount Lemmon might get closed during snowstorms.

Practical info

When is the best time of year to ski in Arizona?

Skiing season in Arizona lasts from late November to April. To get the best out of Arizona's mountains for skiing, February and March is recommended due to the completely cold weather, leading to proper snow trails. These months form a perfect window for having the best skiing and snowboarding experience. Show more

Where are the best places to go skiing in Arizona?

Ski-enthusiasts have several options when in Arizona as it has multiple ski resorts for skiing or snowboarding. The preferred destination among all is Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort located towards the northern side of Flagstaff, along with Elk Ridge Ski Resort in Williams, an exceptional option for both novices and families. Other popular ski resorts are Sunrise Park Ski Resort located in Eastern Arizona while Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley is in Southern Arizona. Show more

What is the highest elevation for skiing in Arizona?

Arizona offers excellent heights for various snow sports, with Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort taking riders to an altitude of 11,500 feet, the highest in Arizona. If planning for White Mountains, Sunrise Park Ski Resort is a good option, reaching a maximum height of 11,100 feet. For skiing with a view, Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley, which is present at the peak of the Santa Catalina Mountains, has a maximum height of 9,022 feet. Show more

Are there any beginner-friendly ski resorts in Arizona?

Elk Ridge Ski Resort is an excellent option for those new to skiing or snowboarding. The resort has 2 miles of slopes, along with two lifts designed for novices. Apart from Elk Ridge Ski Resort, Arizona Snowbowl and Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley are beginner-friendly too, with several marked trails meant only for first-timers who are not comfortable skiing on advanced or intermediate trails. Show more

What are the specific operating hours at Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley?

During the skiing season, Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley stays open from December to April. Its operating hours are from 9 am to 4 pm. However, it stays closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. During Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays, the lifts open at 9 am, closing by 4 pm sharp. On weekends it starts functioning an hour earlier, at 8 am, but closes at the same time of 4 pm. However, these operating hours are subject to change in case of pandemic restrictions, weather conditions, or other unpredictable events. Show more

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Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen