Southern Arizona may seem an unlikely place for winter sports. However, it's actually possible to go skiing or snowboarding near Tucson. The Santa Catalina Mountains 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).
Given that Mount Lemmon Ski Valley is one of the southernmost ski destinations in the US, it's quite impressive that it receives 180 inches (460 cm) of snowfall every year. However, the snow here 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 in case of a snowstorm. Four-wheel-drive cars and chains are handy to get to the ski area.
The mountain is famous for its scenic 30-min ski lift, called "Sky Ride," which provides stunning views of the forest, the valley, and mountain ranges stretching north.
When should one plan a visit to Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley?
February is the best time to visit Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley as it offers the most reliable snow. The resort typically remains open from mid-December to April, except for Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Show more
What is the location of Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley in Tucson, Arizona?
Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley is situated on the highest peak of Tucson's Santa Catalina Mountains and can be approached through the Catalina Highway leading to Mount Lemmon. The drive usually lasts an hour, but the road may close due to heavy snowfall. Show more
Is skiing at Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley suitable for beginners?
The terrain at Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley lacks grooming, which can make it difficult for beginners. However, a different beginner hill is present for those with basic knowledge and lift and rental equipment. Skiers, snowboarders, and Cross-country skiers can all participate in classes and lessons at the Ski School. Show more
What is the lowest elevation of Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley?
The base elevation for Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley is at 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) above sea level, while the highest point is 9,152 feet (2,789 meters). The slopes stretch for 5.2 miles (8.5 km) and feature three lifts reaching as high as 9,022 ft (2,750 m), providing thrilling runs for skiers and snowboarders. Show more
What precautions should be exercised during the drive to Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley?
The drive to the Ski Valley is challenging due to steep climbs, narrow roads, and tight turns on the Catalina Highway. During snowstorms, make sure your car is equipped with chains, four-wheel drives, and/or snow tires. Before you start your journey, ensure to check the weather conditions. Additionally, there are specific height restrictions at the Ski Valley parking lot, so get your vehicle appropriately measured. Show more