By Jill “MamaBug” Frier
When you live in the Valley of the Sun you don’t usually give much thought to snow and ice, even on the coldest winter days. We love our sunny, warm weather here in the desert and cherish our temperate winters. But for people seeking a brief glimpse of real cold weather and winter fun, there are many areas around the state where snow sightings are plentiful. Here are some of the best places to find Arizona snow.
Flagstaff and Surrounding Areas
Northern Arizona is known for its tall pines, beautiful mountain scenery, high elevation, and for having four seasons. Snow is pretty much a sure thing in Flagstaff every winter and this area is a favorite destination for Phoenix-based winter weather lovers. Here are a few of the best spots to experience your winter wonderland. Be sure to check ahead for weather and any restrictions before you head north.
• Snowbowl Ski Resort: A favorite for locals, this Arizona downhill ski resort is located at the top of the San Francisco Peaks.
• Arizona Nordic Village: The perfect location for fun in the snow whether cross-country skiing or “snow biking.”
• Snow Park in Fort Tuthill County Park: Stay in a yurt or a cabin and enjoy sledding and cross-country skiing.
• Oakhill Snow Play Area: A perfect place to play in the snow and slide down hills.
• Elk Ridge Ski and Outdoor Recreation Area: Just south of Williams, enjoy downhill skiing, snowboarding, and tubing.
• Mormon Lake: Visit the Mormon Lake Lodge for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing along groomed tracks.
In the northeast part of Arizona, south of I-40 along the Colorado Plateau, the White Mountains are known for being a charming, high elevation rural escape from the hustle and bustle. Nestled among the tall pines and mountain lakes, the White Mountains are famous for their outstanding winter activities including great skiing, snowmobiling, and sledding. Each little town has its own winter charm but be sure to check the weather and road conditions before you head out.
• Sunrise Park Resort in Greer: Sunrise is the largest ski resort in Arizona and a perfect destination for fun in the snow.
• Hannagan Meadow Lodge in Alpine: Enjoy sledding, ice fishing, and snow mobiles in rustic mountain surroundings.
• Williams Valley Winter Sports Area in Alpine: The perfect hill for snowy activities, including cross-country skiing, sledding, toboggans, and tubes.
The tall pines in Northern Arizona are not the only destinations for fun and frosty winter weather. There is also plenty of snow to be found in the southern part of our state on the towering elevations of Mt. Lemmon, just north of Tucson. Mt. Lemmon’s Ski Valley provides visitors with a unique winter escape just 25 miles uphill from beautiful desert vistas in the Catalina Mountains. Visitors to Ski Valley can enjoy downhill skiing and snowboarding while playing in a winter wonderland above the desert floor.
More Arizona Snow Sightings
Although most of the prime skiing and sledding spots are in higher elevations among the tall pines, don’t overlook some of the picturesquely snowy spots closer to home. Whether a blanket of snow or just a light dusting, places like Prescott, Sedona, Payson, and Globe get their share of winter weather. And most years desert dwellers make at least one quick trip to Sunset Point, just north of Black Canyon City, to spend a couple of hours in the snow. One easy place to start your snow adventure is visitarizona.com.
Make plans to get out of town and enjoy some fun in the snow this winter. Remember to check the weather and roads, prepare your vehicle for snow and ice, and plan ahead for any possible emergencies or delays because of snow. Do your homework and have a blast!
For information about other fun activities and events in Arizona all year round, read ladybugsblog.com.