High in the mountains overlooking Flagstaff, Az., on the western slope of Mount Humphreys is a year-round refuge of natural beauty and adventure. Arizona Snowbowl is noteworthy on many accounts. Opened in 1938, Arizona Snowbowl is one of the United State’s oldest continually operating ski areas. It is home to the largest beginner terrain in the Southwest, receives over 260 inches of annual snowfall, and also boasts Arizona’s longest ski season (typically starting in mid-November and ending in April).
Located in a prime location for locals and tourists alike, Snowbowl is a short 14-mile drive from downtown Flagstaff, 40 minutes from Sedona, an hour from the Grand Canyon, and two hours from Phoenix.
We visited Snowbowl in the heart of its winter ski season and experienced first-hand the beauty and amenities it has to offer. As beginners to snow sports, we took advantage of the Hart Prairie Beginner Terrain, a 50-acre wide open natural meadow featuring two chairlifts and two conveyors. This is where the expert instruction from the ski and snowboard school is delivered.
The ski school offers group, private, and adaptive lessons to accommodate all skill levels in both skiing and snowboarding. Instructors of the school are extremely helpful and make sure that students are safe and having fun. Within the two-hour introductory class we learned the basics of snowboarding and were able to get down the beginner slopes with falling (too many times).
After a full morning learning the basics, we visited the lodge that houses a full restaurant and bar to rest and replenish for a fun afternoon on the slopes. The Snowbowl grounds also offer retail shops and a terrain park. For out of town guests, there is a Ski Lift Lodge and Cabins to keep you close to all the action.
Snowbowl is the most recognizable point of the San Francisco Peaks and offers an exquisite view of the surrounding area, which includes the famous red rocks of Sedona and even a panorama of the Grand Canyon’s North Rim.
As the seasons change and the snow begins to melt, Snowball does not cease to be a fun destination. In fact, it’s just as popular during the Spring and Summer months. A scenic chairlift takes passengers to an elevation of 11,500 feet for unobstructed views of the Grand Canyon North Rim. The grounds also feature a disc golf course for some outdoor playtime. In addition, the scenic nature of Arizona Snowbowl makes it a popular spot for weddings and banquets.
Whether snow or sun, Snowbowl offers a scenic adventure and memorial experience for all.