The Best Places to Ski in Arizona
Skiing in Arizona is one of our best kept secrets. Most people think of deserts, hiking and golf when they think of Arizona but did you know that Arizona has one of the oldest ski runs in the United States? Did you also know that you could be playing golf in the morning in Phoenix or Tucson and skiing in the afternoon based on the close proximity of these ski resorts. We put together some information that you should find useful about skiing in Arizona.
Where can I ski in Arizona? There are 5 places to ski in Arizona:
- Sunrise Park
- Snow Bowl
- Flagstaff Nordic Center
- Elk Ridge Ski Area
- Mount Lemmon
Each ski area has its own personality and amenities. Read below to find out more.
Types of Activities
Like other states, you have the option of five snow sports. First, you can enjoy the slopes with the traditional skis. However, if you are looking for more of a challenge, use a snowboard. The ski runs in Arizona allow snowboarding.
If regular skiing is not your forte, try cross-country skiing. Instead of navigating hills, you can ski across the land as if you were on a hike. If the skis trip you up, invest in snowshoes. Snowshoes will allow you to hike through the mountains as if you were walking in the summer.
Sunrise Park Resort
Operated by the White Mountain Apache Tribe, this is the largest of the Arizona ski resorts, Sunrise Park Resort has over 65 different runs and is advertised as Arizona’s premier family skiing and snowboarding destination. The resort accommodates any level of skier with ski runs, snowboarding area, cross country trails and a children’s ’ski-wee’ area.
The ski resort is located near Greer, Arizona in the White Mountains. The ski lodge is located near Sunrise Lake. It is a large hotel that includes dining options, lounge, game room and an indoor pool. If you need to relax those muscles, you can do so in the hot tub.
If you are a beginner or advanced, there are plenty of runs for you. Out of the 65 runs, 40% are green, 20% are black, and 40% are blue. This means you will never have to worry about getting bored on one slope. Bring your own ski equipment, or rent equipment from the rental store as well. Rentals can be obtained at multiple locations on the mountain. The multiple locations make it easy to upgrade, exchange or make adjustments to your rental equipment.
Absolute beginners can sign up for the snow school. The resort does recommend making reservations as it helps keep the numbers down in each class. If you are uncomfortable taking a class alone, you can sign up for a group class with members of your own party. The classes that are available include: FunLand (Ages 6 and under), Explorer (Ages 7-12), Adult Lessons (13 and up) and private lessons.
Advanced snowboarders and skiers can try new tricks in the Terrain Park. This park includes metal rails and strategically placed trees to allow you to hone your skills. There is even a ramp there to allow you to perfect your jumps!
If skiing and snowboarding are not your thing, the resort does off tubing, cross-country skiing, or snow shoeing. You can find the equipment for these activities in the rental store. Cross country ski trails are located at the base of the mountain. For more information on cross-country skiing at Sunrise, call (855-735-7669 extension 2180.) You can go sledding or tubing near the resort in designated areas at no charge. If you grow tired of the mountain, you can also obtain a fishing license and try your hand at ice fishing.
Young children can enjoy time in the Funland Childcare Center. If your child is 2 months to 12 years old, they can enjoy a fun day while you hit the slopes. Be careful though, you will need to make reservations, although they say walk-ins are welcome.
Dining Options at Sunrise Mountain
There are a number of dining options at the resort including:
- Burrito Bar – Located at the mountain Base, this restaurant features Indian Fry Bread and of course, as the name implies, Burritos.
- The Summit Restaurant – Recently featured in Food and Wine magazine this award winning restaurant is located at the hotel and open during the regular operating hours of the hotel.
- The Chef’s Table – This is located inside the Summit Restaurant and features a special tasting menu. Reservations are required in advance.
- Sunset Grill – The grill is located at the lower level of Sunrise hotel and is open during hotel operating hours. Expect typical bar and grill fare.
- Black Diamond Bar – This venue is open specifically for large parties and special events.
Address: P.O. Box 117 Greer, AZ 85927
Toll Free: 800-772-SNOW(7669)
Google Map to Sunrise Mountain Resort
Are there hotels near Sunrise Mountain Park?
There are a number of options for hotels near Sunrise Mountain Park. Check out the list below for accommodations.
Sunrise Park Resort Hotel
The Sunrise Hotel is located just 3 miles from the Sunrise and Cyclone Base Areas between Sunrise Mountain and Sunrise Lake. This 96 room Hotel features a table service restaurant, bar & grill, bar, conference center and complimentary wireless internet in common areas.
Enjoy breakfast before you hit the slopes or hang out at the open fireplace after a long day of snowboarding with a adult beverage. When you stay at the resort you don’t have to leave the mountain and the hotel provides a complimentary shuttle to the slops and hotel parking is free of charge. Pets are allowed within the hotel with an open credit card.
- Hot Breakfast menu available
- Coffe in-room
- Gift Shop
- Daily Housekeeping
- Complimentary Shuttle Service
Book the Sunrise Park Hotel and Conference Center – 928-735-7669
Hon-Dah Hotel and Casino
At over 7,000 feet and nestled in great Northwoods of Arizona, this hotel, conference center and casino is located in Pinetop, Arizona near the ski resort. The hotel has 128 rooms and features an RV park along with the casino and conference center. Check out their website for room promotions and discounts on ski gear rentals.
Dining options at the Hon-Dah include the Indian Pine Restaurant. The restaurant is open 7 days a week from 6:00 am until 10:00 pm and includes a large menu sure to satisfy any appetite. Check for specials throughout the year and enjoy their champagne brunch on Sundays. Their pricing is very reasonable.
Hon-Dah Resort Casino and Conference Center
Address: 777 Highway 260 Pinetop, Arizona 85935
Flagstaff Nordic Center
Being near a major city has its advantages. The Nordic Center is located just 15 miles from Flagstaff on highway 180. The center is nestled in the San Francisco Peaks. If you are looking for a good place to cross-country ski, this is the perfect location. It has multiple hiking trails to help you enjoy the outdoors without worrying about getting in the way of regular skiers and snowboarders.
The Flagstaff Nordic Center boasts over 25 miles (40 kilometers )of cross-country ski trails. Current trail conditions are posted on their website.
You can also download overview maps from their website that show the ski and snowshoe trails.
What trails can I expect at the Nordic Ski Center?
Skate – Classic Ski Trails
These trails are tailored for skate skiing and Classic skiing. The trails are approximately 16-feet wide with Classic ski tracks on one side and the remaining area groomed to a corduroy finish.
Classic Ski Trails
Classic-ski trails are tailored for Classic skiing. The Classic ski trails range from 4 – 8 feet wide with one or two sets of Classic tracks laid in when conditions permit.
Snowshoe – Multi-Use Trails
Multi-Use – Snowshoe Trails are open to everyone. Multi-use trails are sometimes packed by a snowmobile to accommodate snow-biking.
Where is the Flagstaff Nordic Ski Center
The Flagstaff Nordic Center is located in the Coconino National Forest a short 15 miles northwest of Flagstaff, Arizona. To get there from Flagstaff, follow the Highway 180 signs to Grand Canyon. The Ski Center parking lot is located alongside Highway 180 at Mile Marker 232. Use this address for your GPS device: 16848 U.S. 180 Flagstaff, AZ 86001.
One of the most popular Arizona skiing locations is the Arizona Snowball and just like the Nordic Center, it is located just outside of Flagstaff. If you want to explore more take a day trip as Snowbowl is located just 70 miles from the Grand Canyon. Located on the west side of Mount Humphrey’s, skiers of all ages can explore the 777 acres. You will never have to worry about running out of snow, as the average snow accumulation is 260 inches a year. If you are looking to hit the slopes, you have 32 ski runs to choose from; however keep in mind that 37% of them are for beginners, 21% are for advanced, and 42% are for intermediate skiers. Arizona Snowbowl is one of the oldest, continually run ski areas in the U.S.
Some quick facts about Arizona Snowbowl
* Base elevation — 9,200 feet
* Summit elevation — 11,500 feet
* Vertical drop — 2,300 feet
* Skiable acres — 777
* Runs — 32
* Chair lifts — four – five during the peak season
* Average season — mid-December to mid-April depending on the weather
* Average snowfall — 260 inches
During the peak season, Arizona Snowbowl will have five ski lifts running. There are two extra lifts that serve as surface conveyors. Be prepared to adjust to a high climate as Arizona Snowbowl base elevation is 9,200 feet and one of the aerial lifts goes up to 11,500 feet on the mountain. . If you are looking for a slope that will challenge you without ending too quickly, there is a run that is two miles long.
For snowboarders and skiers alike, the Sunset Terrain Park features obstacles, spines, rails, and fun boxes. The fun boxes include a 24-foot flat box, a 24-foot flat down box, a 20-foot C-box, and a 24-foot house box.
Like Sunrise, if you need a refresher course, there are ski schools you can attend. Just make sure you call for a reservation. You can choose between different packages. The most common packages would be the three day pass. Also, you have the choice of staying in two locations at Arizona. You can stay in the main lodge where you can enjoy the amenities like fine dining. If you would prefer more privacy, you can opt for a cabin. Select cabins contain gas fireplaces
Unlike other places, Arizona Snowball creates man made snow to enhance the snow they have naturally. This will help with the consistency of the snow for the skiers. They do not use it all over the slopes, just on about half of them.
Snowbowl is located on N Highway 180 & N Snow Bowl Rd Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Visit the Website
Elk Ridge Ski Area
Located on Bill Williams Mountain in Williams, Arizona, this family friendly resort offers many of the same features as the other resorts mentioned above. It offers skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. The 37 acre site is in a great location, just 21 mile from Flagstaff and nestled near the south entrance of the Grand Canyon.
There are family discounts as well as deals for individuals. The recreation area features 2 lifts and 10 trails. the trails are for both skiing and snowboarding and are set up for beginning and intermediate skiers.
Skiing rentals are offered every day and feature Elan equipment. Premium snowboards are also offered for rentals. You can take lessons for both snowboarding and skiing.
For family fun you may consider tubing. Check out the family discounts.
If you are looking for a lodge, the newly remodeled lodge has a beginners slope nearby. The White Stag Cafe at the base lodge serves American grill food for lunch and dinner.
There is also day lodge with a snack bar.
Location: Three miles south of the town of Williams on Route 66 – 2467 S Perkinsville Rd, Williams, AZ 86046
Phone: 928-814-5038 You may consider using chains and/or 4WD during heavy snows.
Mt Lemmon Ski Valley
The final ski resort with a summit elevation of over 9,000 feet is located just 25 miles outside of Tucson. There are 2 chair lifts, 1 surface tow on the 200 acre site featuring 21 ski trails, with beginner, intermediate, and advanced runs. Lessons and rentals available.The rates are daily and affordable for all. Contact Ski Valley at 520-576-1400 for current rental and lift pricing.
The ski runs are generally open between from mid-December through April depending on the amount of snowfall.
Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley offers ski equipment rentals, cla, the Iron Door Restaurant, a snack bar, and gift shop.
Accommodations are available in the nearby town of Summerhaven.
Make sure to check road conditions prior to going up the mountain as the road can be closed after snowstorms. Chains and 4WD may also be required. You can check road conditions by calling 520-547-7510