The 3 Best Ski Resorts in Arizona

The 3 Best Ski Resorts in Arizona
Jack Taylor
Written by Jack Taylor / Photos by Jack Lee
Last updated September 22, 2020
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The Grand Canyon State is more famous for its dry deserts than its snowy mountains, but if you know where to look there’s some excellent skiing for all, from first-timers to pros. We’ve picked out the top mountains to make it simple for you to tick Arizona off your ski trip bucket list!

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Known for

True expert terrain in spectacular high-mountain territory

Highlights

  • 777 ac of skiable terrain to explore on a dormant stratovolcano!
  • Blanketed with 260 in of dry powder on average each winter
  • Stunning views of Arizona’s highest mountain Humphreys Peak
  • Weekends and powder days can see long queues for the lifts

Closest airports

Phoenix Sky Harbor Intl. Airport - 162 mi (3 hour drive)
Flagstaff Pulliam Airport - 19 mi (35 minute drive)
Ski with stunning high-mountain views (Photo credit: Arizona Snowbowl)

If you’re serious about skiing in Arizona then this is the destination for you! A new high-speed chairlift and gondola combo is coming for 2020/21, that’ll whisk you up 2,000 ft in just 7 minutes. From the top at 11,500 ft there’s a hike-to double black diamond trails in the Upper Bowl, steep groomers and powder-filled glades. The Hart Prairie novice area enjoys its own corner of the resort where beginners can practice their parallel turns in peace, plus the resort's stand-out terrain park on Sunset Boulevard has its own dedicated chairlift. A mountain lodge with cosy wooden cabins offers nearby accommodation, otherwise 14 mi away in Flagstaff you’ll find a wide range of places to stay.

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Known for

Intermediate-friendly slopes and an expert grooming operation at this full-service ski resort

Highlights

  • Arizona’s biggest ski area and the only to offer night skiing (for now)
  • The slopes are uncrowded and lift lines are rare
  • Try out snow biking, snow tubing, and cross-country skiing
  • Isolated location is a long drive from major cities like Phoenix or Tucson

Closest airports

Phoenix Sky Harbor Intl. Airport - 213 mi (4 hour drive)
Arizona's biggest ski area (Photo credit: Sunrise Park)

Sunrise Park enjoys a prime spot in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona, and offers a wonderful family-friendly ski experience for anyone prepared to make the journey here. There are seven lifts connecting 65 trails, with Apache Peak the largest of the three separate mountains at 11,100 ft. The ski school offers a kid’s ski program, plus childcare facilities are available right next to the slopes. Just 3 mi from the resort is Sunrise Park Lodge, offering comfy rooms, an indoor pool and hot tub, plus a free shuttle to the resort. If you don’t stay here the nearest accommodation options are in Pinetop-Lakeside, around a 45-minute drive away.

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Known for

Affordable lift tickets and a laid-back vibe make this ski hill a local favorite

Highlights

  • Decent variety of trails from gentle greens to steep blacks
  • Excellent ski school and on-site ski rental for newbies
  • Unique mountain experience where you can look down over the desert!
  • Experienced skiers will find it easy to ski everything here in a day

Closest airports

Tucson Intl. Airport - 49 mi (1.5 hour drive)
Ski through the pine trees of Coronado National Forest (Photo credit: Lemmon Ski Valley)

Carved out amongst the towering pine trees of Coronado National Forest, the slopes of Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley offer the closest skiing to Tucson. In little over an hours’ drive you can be high up in the Santa Catalina Mountains, with 22 trails serviced by one trusty double chairlift! There’s actually a surface lift and short chairlift too, but these are just for the bunny slopes. If you’re a first-timer, learning to ski at Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley offers great value for money. You’ll find no terrain park or snow tubing here, but kick back on the Grub Stake Grill patio to enjoy a rare view of snow-capped peaks above and sandy desert below!

The 3 Best Ski Resorts in Arizona
Arizona Snowbowl
Sunrise Park
Mount Lemmon Ski Valley
Arizona Snowbowl