Snow doesn’t always come to mind when you think of Arizona. But there are actually a few resorts on the higher mountains in the northern part of the state that offer runs for snowboarders during the winter months.
I’ve been snowboarding for most of my life and have had the great opportunity to travel to many places to ride. I’ve ridden in Arizona a handful of times and know the best spots to snowboard in the state.
This post will spotlight all of the best places to snowboard in Arizona. While there aren’t many resorts here, you can take advantage of decent conditions if you know where to head in the winter. I’ll help guide you in the right direction.
Let’s get after it.
1. Arizona Snowbowl
- Official Website: https://www.snowbowl.ski/
- Opening Day: November 20 (Average)
- Closing Day: March 20 (Average)
- Best Known For: Good snow, a wide variety of terrain
The best place to snowboard in Arizona is Snowbowl. This is probably the most well-known resort in the state and sits in the mountains outside the town of Flagstaff. It gets decent snow in the winter, making for a fun experience.
Snowbowl is not a fancy resort like you might be used to if you are visiting from Colorado or California. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a lot of fun here, and the more laid-back feel of the place has a definite appeal.
When conditions are good, you can take advantage of a wide variety of terrain. There is something for just about everyone, including groomed greens and more challenging blues and blacks. There are a few steeps at Snowbowl that I really like.
The elevation of Snowbowl is pretty high, so you’ll want to make sure you stay hydrated and adequately acclimatize yourself if needed. It also gets a pretty impressive amount of annual snow, at nearly 300 inches every year.
There really isn’t any place to stay on the mountain, so you’ll need to head back down into Flagstaff if you want to find a room or a good restaurant. But there are plenty of options here to satisfy just about everyone.
2. Sunrise Park
- Official Website: https://www.sunrise.ski/
- Opening Day: December 1 (Average)
- Closing Day: March 15 (Average)
- Best Known For: The largest resort in Arizona, good vertical drop
Another excellent spot to go snowboarding in Arizona is Sunrise Park. This is the largest resort in the state, giving you plenty of room to go out and explore whatever sort of terrain you want to get into when you visit.
The resort is spread out across three different mountains, giving you access to nearly 70 different runs. There are all sorts of trails to bomb down, and each of the main areas of the mountain has a slightly different feel.
Another great thing about Sunrise Park is that it has nearly 2,000 vertical feet, so you have the ability to cruise down long runs and go as fast as you want. That means you might take fewer runs in the day, but you go longer while doing so.
The resort isn’t that close to a major city, so there are basically never any lift lines here. You can expect to ride for as long or as hard as you want to when you visit. That’s excellent news for any serious rider who wants to go hard.
The downside of a more remote setting is that you will not find much in terms of lodging or dining here. It’s more of a day trip destination but still well worth it for a fun day in the Arizona snow.
3. Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley
- Official Website: https://www.skithelemmon.com/
- Opening Day: January 1 (Average)
- Closing Day: March 1 (Average)
- Best Known For: Close to Tuscon, small but fun
If you want to experience a very unique Arizona skiing experience, I highly recommend checking out Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley. This is a small ski resort that sits somewhat near the town of Tuscon in the southern part of the state.
The ski area only offers about 200 acres of rideable terrain, which isn’t a lot. But for southern Arizona which is usually desert and cactus, that’s enough to have some serious fun. The lifts here are old-school, which adds to the fun.
Almost all the runs here go through the trees, so you’ll want to be sure to keep an eye out for those branches and other obstacles coming your way as you weave your way down the slopes. And even though it’s small, you still get nearly 1,000 vertical feet.
Mt. Lemmon is very affordable, which is another obvious benefit of making the trek here. You aren’t going to get a monster resort experience, but you will have a lot of fun without spending much money.
Here are a few short answers to some of the most commonly asked questions relating to the where to snowboard in Arizona.
Does Arizona have snow mountains?
Yes, believe it or not, Arizona does have snow mountains. While the region doesn’t get as much snow as other locations out west, the higher peaks here can get enough snow to go skiing and snowboarding during the winter.
How much does it cost to go snowboarding in Arizona?
Snowboarding in Arizona is relatively affordable compared to other states. You can still get a lift ticket for under $100 at most locations where you can ride here. If you need to rent equipment, that cost will obviously go up quite a bit.
Which is better Sunrise or Snowbowl?
This depends on who you ask. I personally like Snowbowl a little better, but I’ve also had good days at Sunrise. I think Snowbowl gets better snow during the height of the season, and that’s why I think it’s better.
Arizona only has three resorts, so those are the destinations that made the list here. And even though snowboarding in Arizona might sound weird, these locations are a lot of fun during the winter months with enough snow on the ground.About Lorraine