Best Ski Resorts in Arizona – Detailed Guide

Arizona may be a state that is mostly covered in desert landscapes, but would you be surprised to learn that the Grand Canyon State also offers a few excellent ski resorts?

For a few months in the winter, Arizona’s highest mountains are covered in many feet of snow, creating the perfect conditions for skiing and snowboarding.

While the snow season may be short (usually only lasting from late November until mid-March), that gives you plenty of time to hit the slopes and enjoy Arizona’s winter wonderlands.

Follow along and discover the best ski resorts in Arizona with miles of groomed trails and terrain for skiers of all levels.

Best Ski Resorts in Arizona

1. Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff

Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort

In the far northern part of Arizona lies the highest mountain in the state, Humphrey’s Peak. Located on the flanks of the mighty ancient volcano, Arizona Snowbowl boasts 6 ski lifts, including a brand-new high-speed gondola to take you to the highest point of the park in comfort and style.

Whatever level you may be, from beginner to expert, Arizona Snowbowl (or just Snowbowl to locals) has miles of groomed trails and plenty more remote, expert runs as well. The highest lift, the Arizona Gondola, takes you all the way up to 11,500 feet elevation, with gorgeous views and miles of rideable trail back down to the base.

Snowbowl’s weather is generally pretty mild, with many bluebird days and occasionally heavy snowstorms. Driving up to the resort can be tricky on and after stormy days, and chains and/or 4WD may be required. The mountain city of Flagstaff is only less than 30 minutes away, providing many options for eating and lodging before and after your day on the slopes.

⛷️ Highlights:

  • 23 miles (37 km) of slopes
  • Several terrain parks with jumps, rails, and other freestyle skills features
  • 6 lifts
  • Great weather
  • Lower prices on weekdays
  • 2 ½ hour drive from Phoenix
  • Quick lift lines even on busy days
  • Large “bunny hill” for beginners
  • Upper bowl access for untouched powder

2. Greer- Sunrise Park Resort

Sunrise Park Resort is a little more remote than other ski resorts in Arizona, but making the drive is worth it! Located in the beautiful White Mountains of eastern Arizona, this ski resort gets an average of 20 feet of snow every winter (yes it does snow in Arizona). The weather can be a little harsher here but some of these storms can dump some serious powder!

Looking for something beyond skiing and snowboarding? Sunrise also offers ski bikes for rent, cross country skiing, and even tubing! This makes Sunrise accessible for the whole family and lets you try out new-to-you snow sports. If you wanted to try an activity tinged with nostalgia, Snowy Mountain Stables near Sunrise Park Resort offers horse-drawn sleigh rides!

The majority of the trails at Sunrise are suitable for beginner to intermediate riders, with a few “black diamond” expert-level trails situated near the top of the park. With 6 lifts, 1200 acres, and 65 trails, there is no shortage of rideable terrain and fun to be had at Sunrise Park Resort. Sunrise is also the only ski resort in Arizona that offers night skiing!

⛷️ Highlights:

  • Multiple snow sports available- skiing, snowboarding, ski biking, tubing, cross country skiing
  • Three mountains with 6 lifts
  • 65 named trails
  • Incredible views of the White Mountains
  • More remote, fewer crowds
  • 250 inches average annual snowfall
  • Childcare available
  • Night skiing

3. Mount Lemmon Ski Valley in Arizona

Chair Lifts at Mount Lemmon Ski Valley in Arizona
Chair Lifts at Mount Lemmon Ski Valley in Tucson

Yes, it does snow in southern Arizona! In fact, Mount Lemmon Ski Valley is the southernmost ski resort in the United States! It sits at an elevation of 9,175 feet (2,791 m) on top of Mount Lemmon, which overshadows the city of Tucson to the west. Mount Lemmon Ski Valley is open year-round, so even if the snow is scarce, you can still take a ride up the lifts to enjoy the incredible scenery.

With over 200 acres and 21 available runs, Ski Valley is on the smaller side compared to the other ski resorts in Arizona. What they lack in size, they make up for it in sheer fun! The average snowfall on top of Mount Lemmon is about 180 inches a year, with most of the skiable days being from mid-December to early April. Late winter rainstorms in the Phoenix area mean big powder days at Mount Lemmon Ski Valley.

Besides the skiing, there’s also a diner serving up their famous pies, fudge, soups, and other delicious fares. The Motherlode Gift Shop is a great place to find a souvenir to remember your ski trip, to find a book on local history, or stock up on warm clothing for your ski outing. Equipment rentals are available and lift tickets are bought on site.

⛷️ Highlights:

  • Several dining options
  • Open year-round
  • Sky Rides on non-ski days
  • Near Tucson
  • Less crowded than other resorts
  • Famous fudge, chili, and pie
  • 200 acres of terrain
  • 21 ski runs
  • Rentals available

Skiing in Arizona – Frequently Asked Questions

Conclusion

Skiing is one of my favorite winter sports, and although I live in the notorious desert state of Arizona, skiing is never more than a few hours away! In the winter I find myself checking the forecast for the next big storm to hit, and try to plan my next trip as soon as possible to hit some incredible powder and freshly groomed trails.

Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff, Sunrise Park Resort near Greer, and Mount Lemmon Ski Valley near Tucson are all within 3-4 hours of the Phoenix Valley, and you can easily make a day trip to ski the slopes. So grab your gear, check the forecast, and get ready to shred some powder!