If you don't want to spend the money on plane tickets to Colorado or Vermont, just get in your car and head to the Arizona ski slopes. Despite being famous for its hot and dry climate, Arizona has a few snowy secrets up its sleeves. If you love winter sports, you'll be happy to know that it's possible to find a some fresh snow among the arid landscape. There are places within just a few hours of Phoenix where you can satisfy that urge to ski, snowboard, or snowshoe. If you're looking for something different to for a day trip out of Phoenix or Tucson, it doesn't get any more different than skiing in Arizona.
Just two to three hours from Phoenix and located in the San Francisco Peaks, Arizona Snowbowl has five ski lifts with the highest being 11,500 feet. There are 40 runs and trails at Arizona Snowbowl on over 700 skiable acres, with the longest run being two miles long. In addition to the five aerial ski lifts, there are two surface conveyors. The season starts in mid-November and the resort gets an average snowfall of 260 inches per year.
For cross-country skiers and snowshoers, the Arizona Nordic Village is quaint resort in the Coconino National Forest two hours north of Phoenix. Formerly known as the Flagstaff Nordic Center, the resort has everything you need including instructors and equipment rentals. In addition to winter sports, this resort also offers modern glamping yurts and cabins. The perfect thing for anyone looking for a quiet escape, these backcountry yurts are located in the middle of the forest—about a mile from the resort's main entrance. Most guests choose to hike out there, but gear shuttles are available if you need them.
Although Arizona Snowbowl may be the best-known ski area in Arizona because of its proximity to Flagstaff and Northern Arizona University, Sunrise Park is the largest with 65 runs. Located in Apache County in the Arizona White Mountains, Sunrise is just over 200 miles from Phoenix. The resort is owned and operated by the White Mountain Apache Tribe.
With eight ski lifts, 13 miles of trails for cross-country skiing, and special children's programming, there is plenty of fun to be had at the resort. It's a long way from Phoenix, so consider booking a night or two at the nearby Sunrise Park Lodge.
Mount Lemmon Ski Valley
Not every ski resort in Arizona requires a multi-hour drive and if you're Tuscon, you can actually hit the slopes on the nearby Mount Lemon. Part of the Catalina Mountains, Mount Lemmon Ski Valley is the southernmost ski resort in the U.S. With one lift and 18 ski trails, this is a rare resort where you can ride the slopes while looking out at views of the desert.