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Best Destinations for Skiing and Snowboarding in Arizona
Written By: raymoyers

Best Destinations for Skiing and Snowboarding in Arizona


When you think of snow, Arizona is never the first place that comes to mind.  Widely known for its vast deserts and scorching heat, Arizona doesn’t seem like a good place to hit the slopes during the regular ski and snowboard season.  Contrary to popular belief, the Arizona high country does get its fair share of snow and winter storms.  The snow season in Arizona isn’t very long, when compared to Utah and Colorado, but it is great while it lasts.


Arizona is home to two ski and snowboard resorts.  The snow season in Arizona usually starts middle to late December for both resorts and can last through the end of March.  Throughout the snow season in Arizona, there’s a good chance of finding a few inches of fresh powder at either resort on any given day.


Listed below is a brief description of what each snowboard and ski resort in Arizona has to offer, followed by a few “insider’s tips” on how to make your day at each resort more enjoyable.


Sunrise Ski Resort: Located 4 ½ hours northeast of Phoenix in the Arizona White Mountains


•    Base elevation: 9200 ft.
•    Peak Elevation: 11,000 ft.
•    Total Average Yearly Snowfall: 196 inches
•    Number of trails: 65
•    Skiable Acres: 800
•    Number of lifts: 8 (4 quads, 4 triples)
•    Terrain Parks: 1
•    Number of lodges: 4 (2 at the base, 1 mid mountain, 1 at the peak)
•    Full Service Ski and Snowboard School Available


Sunrise is the favorite resort amongst Arizona locals.  Sunrise Ski Resort usually has better snow conditions and is a larger resort than Arizona’s other resort.


Sunrise Insider’s Tip: Sunrise can get crowded and busy, especially on the weekends.  Stick to the Cyclone Mountain at the back, southeastern edge of the resort.  You’ll find fewer crowds and better snow on Cyclone Mountain, even on crowded days, making your snow day a lot more enjoyable.


Snowbowl Ski Resort: Located 3 hours north of Phoenix in Flagstaff Arizona.


•    Base elevation: 9200 ft.
•    Peak Elevation: 11,500 ft.
•    Total Average Yearly Snowfall: 260 inches
•    Number of trails: 32
•    Skiable Acres: 777
•    Number of lifts: 4 (2 doubles, 2 triples)
•    Terrain Parks: 1
•    Number of lodges: 1 at the base


Snowbowl is a smaller resort than Sunrise and is generally quite a bit more crowded due to the college student crowd from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff Arizona. 


Snowbowl Insider’s Tip: Hit the slopes right after the holiday break in January.  College students have a set break schedule for a few weeks during the Christmas/New Year holiday season.  Plan your trip for the first few weekdays after the college students go back to school and you’re guaranteed a smaller crowd.  This will give you a better chance at a full day of shredding down the mountain without anyone getting in your way.


No matter which resort you choose, you’re sure to have a great time skiing and snowboarding in Arizona.  The best part about visiting one of Arizona’s skiing and snowboarding resorts is after spending a day in the freezing weather on either mountain; you can make the short drive back to Phoenix and enjoy the beautiful 60 degree weather down in the Valley of the Sun.


Sunrise Trail Map 
Snowbowl Trail Map


If you’re planning on hitting either of Arizona’s Ski and Snowboard resorts, be sure to visit sierrasnowboard.com to find great deals on all of the gear you need to have the best day ever on the mountain.


Photo Credit: Ray, Logan, and Heston Moyers snowboarding at Sunrise Park Resort in Arizona.


 


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E13 E13 - There's 38'' of powder on Mt. Lemmon, Ray. I just thought I'd let you know that I'll be boarding tomorrow through Sunday on the OTHER mountain in Arizona that apparently wasn't cool enough to make this article... ;)
2040 days 10 hours 45 minutes ago
E13 E13 - I'LL HAVE YOU KNOW THAT I JUST SNOWBOARDED ON THE SOUTHERN MOST SKI RESORT IN THE UNITED STATES: MT. LEMMON. I'm not gonna hate on you too much for writing this but, hey, some of the most fun I've had has been on Mt. Lemmon since it's so close, no accomodations are needed and it's about a 40 minute drive door to door for me. I think a revision is in need... E
2063 days 16 hours 34 minutes ago

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