Arizona Snowbowl / Flagstaff Ski Vacation Guide

The Arizona Snowbowl has one of the most unusual and compelling ski experiences in the country—this is a ski resort set amid the San Francisco Peaks, from which you can see the northern rim of the Grand Canyon. The Kachina Peaks Wilderness provides a wide variety of winter activities including snowshoeing nature hikes, cross-country skiing and skijoring. The Coconino National Forest is also at the base of the mountain, and the local environment is such that you can enjoy great groomed snowy trails one day, then off the mountain, enjoy relatively warm weather.

The town of Flagstaff is just minutes away from the Arizona Snowbowl, and the area is home to Humprey’s Peak, the highest point in the state. The Arizona Snowbowl is also one of the oldest continually run ski resorts in the country, celebrating 75-year anniversary during the 2012-2013 ski seaon.

Just 30 miles east is Elk Ridge Ski and Outdoor Recreation area, formally known as Williams Ski area, near Williams, Arizona. The smaller resort is the southern gateway to the Grand Canyon and is home to great tubbing for the whole family.

Ski Levels

At Snowbowl, trails are kept groomed with fresh snow added daily. On your way down the mountain you can enjoy sunny conditions and vistas of green forests, as well as the desert off in the distance below—creating an interesting juxtaposition of environments. The mountain offers roughly 40 trails, which are serviced by four chair lifts. Its proximity to different environments and local attractions makes it a flexible hub for your next winter vacation. In addition, a terrain park has been added to the resort. Try out a variety of tricks on the rails, spines, boxes, and hits.

At Elk Ridge, the beginner and intermediate level skiiers and snowboarders will love the freedom to learn and experience the winter activities without the crowds and pressure. With 10 total ski runs on 37 acres, the trails are broken out into 30 percent beginner, 50 percent intermediate, and 20 percent advanced.

Après Ski

With the town of Flagstaff right nearby and a fully equipped lodge and local nightlife, you will be able to choose from a wide selection of après ski activities, restaurants, clubs, and so on. The Arizona Snowbowl gives you the full experience from beginning to end and lets you plan a vacation with the full range of activities.

Arizona Snowbowl / Flagstaff Snowboard Vacation Guide

Rider’s Guide

With all the cactus and sand in the state, it’s a surprise to discover that the Arizona Snowbowl is one of the best mountains in the Southwest, with an average snowfall of 260 inches and four lifts that can take up to 5,000 people per hour to the top of 40 runs. These runs are divided for different ability levels including beginner at 37 percent, intermediate at 42 percent, and advanced at 21 percent. Elk Ridge gets an average snowfall of 150 inches. Elk Ridge has two lifts to take guests to a variety of runs, divided as follows: beginner 30 percent, intermediate 50 percent, and advanced 20 percent, there are plenty of snowboard opportunities on the 600 feet of vertical drop. Elk Ridge is a smaller and intimate resort that boasts dozens of runs and the perfect opportunity for boarders to get in some great riding in an easily navigable ski area.

Parks and Pipes

Elk Ridge allows snowboarders only on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, which suits the mostly entry-level weekend boarder crowd there. However, Arizona Snowbowl’s Sunset Terrain Park offers rails, boxes, and jumps perfect for all levels of riders and freestyle skier.

Out of Bounds

The Arizona Snowbowl is situated just 14 miles from Flagstaff, where guests will find endless opportunities for outdoor exploration. The Williams, Arizona area around Elk Ridge is a paradise of off-road exploration with snowmobiles, cross-country trails, and more. From Williams take the Grand Canyon Railway to the South Rim, one of the most wonderful 2.5 hours anyone can spend on a train. Also, don’t miss the chance to see some incredible natural wonders like the red rocks of Sedona as well as a host of other beautiful, scenic escapes in the region.

Hangout & Hookup

Flagstaff is filled with great places to eat, drink, and hang out. Ardrey Auditorium features great concerts. NAU is located in Flagstaff, so there are plenty of bars and clubs that cater to a younger crowd. For a touch of Mexico in Arizona, check out San Felipe’s Cantina. In Williams, get your karaoke fix at Miss Kitty’s Saloon, which is great for underage snowboarders because it doubles as a steakhouse serving enormous portions. Definitely check out Pancho McGillicuddy’s, which frequently features live entertainment. The Sultana Bar is the place to go in Williams for serious drinking, dart playing, and pool shooting.