Arizona: where sunscreen and slopes collide
Arizona, Sunrise Park near the New Mexico state line and Mount Lemmon above Tucson. Snowbowl is the only ski area with snowmaking capabilities — it was added in 2012 — but snow hasn’t been a problem this season. After years of drought and hit-or-miss snow on the mountains, Arizona ski areas have reaped the benefits of El Niño as one storm after another has moved across the state. Snowbowl was 100 per cent open around the Christmas holiday and had 147 centimetres of snow from a series of storms the second week in January, creating some “rad” conditions across the mountain. “We elevated to almost epic conditions with all that fresh snow,” Murray said. “The skiing in Arizona right now is as good as it gets.” An added benefit is the deals that can be had. High season in towns like Flagstaff and Greer, where Sunrise Park is located, is in the summer, when people in the southern part of the state head north to cool off. So while hotel rates can be exorbitant down in the Valley of the Sun and Tucson, deals are there to be had in the mountains, leaving extra money to ski multiple days or dinner. “You really can get some great deals,” said Murray. Location: Williams, about 30 minutes west of Flagstaff. Size: Two lifts, 12 trails. Terrain: 30 per cent beginner, 50 intermediate, 20 advanced. Base elevation: 2,286 metres. Vertical drop: 183 metres. Lift tickets: US$30 adult, US$25 kids. Half day US$25/$20. Season: December-March. Snowmaking: No.