Skiing in the Grand Canyon State: Arizona surprises as a winter wonderland

Parts of the area are transformed into a glittering winter paradise for a few weeks each year.

9 December 2020

The state of Arizona in the southwest of the USA is not exactly known for its snowy winters. Rather, the area is known for its numerous hours of sunshine, great heat and spectacular nature. But in winter, the Grand Canyon State transforms into a white winter wonderland for a short time. Perfect for spending a paradisiacal ski vacation there. Because during the winter season from December to March, you won't find a better place away from the Rocky Mountains for snow adventures or alpine recreation in the U.S. than in Arizona's mountain regions. Whether it's skiing, snowboarding or other activities, there's something for every winter fan. 

Arizona can also entice you with a breathtaking winter wonderland.

Skiing with a view of the Grand Canyon

Already in the immediate vicinity of the town of Flagstaff, skiers are in perfect hands. Just a 30-minute drive from historic Flagstaff and two hours from Pheonix is the Arizona Snowbowl Resort. What makes this resort special is that it's the only one with a stellar view of the imposing Grand Canyon. Skiers and snowboarders - whether pros or beginners - can enjoy over 50 runs. The Snowbowl Resort also offers glade skiing, which involves skiing off-piste through the forest. Those who want to improve their skiing skills can do so in either two or four hours as part of a special program. For freestylers who want to enjoy the snow paradise on their own, there are three terrain parks where they can let off steam. 

Wide slopes at the Snowbowl Resort impress winter sports enthusiasts with unparalleled skiing pleasure.

Perfect for beginners

Another ski mecca is located in northern Arizona: the White Mountains. This is where Sunrise Park Resort is located, which is not only extremely popular with less experienced winter sports enthusiasts, but is also the largest ski resort in the state of Arizona. Long and flat runs are great for snowboarders and skiers to gain experience. The resort also offers group and private lessons to learn the winter sports or improve your skills. Experienced athletes don't miss out either. An adrenaline rush of the highest order awaits winter sports enthusiasts on the Black Diamond runs of the Cyclone Circle.

Even away from the big ski resorts, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy winter adventures in Arizona. In Mount Lemmon Ski Valley, for example, the southernmost ski area in the United States. Here, near the small mountain town of Summerhaven, more than 22 runs await skiers and snowboarders.

The Mount Lemmon Ski Valley with its breathtaking panorama.

Multifaceted winter experiences

Skiing and snowboarding aren't the only winter activities the Grand Canyon State offers. The Arizona Nordic Village near Flagstaff offers more than 25 miles of trails, including cross-country skiing and snow biking. On the other hand, those who are more in search of relaxation amidst the snowy landscape will find just that at Hannagan Meadow Lodge. Guests can look forward not only to cozy accommodations, but also to long walks in the snow in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, sledding, or ice fishing. 

Cross-country skiing and snowbiking also bring great pleasure away from the slopes.

Picture Credits: An Pham, Discover Flagstaff, Visit Tucson

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