Arizona Snowbowl in Arizona is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. As part of a series on ski resorts, Huffington Post Travel offers our guide to Arizona Snowbowl, featuring all the key information snow lovers need to know before they hit the slopes.
The BasicsArizona Snowbowl is just outside Flagstaff, Arizona, on the San Francisco Peaks. It is a four-hour drive from Las Vegas, Nevada, to the west and fewer than five hours from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to the east. The resort also serves skiers in Phoenix, where Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is located, about 2 1/2 hours away. Arizona Snowbowl is one of the oldest ski areas in the United States. It has all levels of runs, but it is most famous for its Hart's Prairie beginner area -- 50 acres that can accommodate many people just learning to ski.
The MountainThe mountain has a summit elevation of 11,500 feet and a vertical drop of 2,300 feet among its 777 skiable acres. Arizona Snowbowl sees 260 inches of snow during its average season from mid-December to mid-April. There is plenty to do for alpine skiers, snowboarders, Telemark skiers, cross-country skiers and those with disabilities, but those who want to enjoy other snow activities such as snow tubing, sledding or building snowmen must do so elsewhere. Nearby Wing Mountain and Crowley Pit are available for those activities.
Trails And LiftsFour chairlifts take skiers up to one of the 32 runs that are divided between beginner (37 percent), intermediate (42 percent) and advanced (21 percent). There are also two surface conveyors for the beginners. The longest run spans two miles. Snowboarders and freestyle skiers enjoy the Sunset Terrain Park. Both adventure seekers who already know how to be airborne on jumps, ramps and banks and people who want to learn how, can find something to do. Orange signs designating small, medium or large terrain park features make this possible.
In The NewsArizona Snowbowl values the safety of its guests and has won "Best Overall Safety Program" from the National Ski Areas Association several times. The program's motto is "BAAH! Be Alert -- Accidents Hurt!" and even has a mascot -- Sammy the Safety Sheep -- who appears during safety week at the resort. Safety is made fun with camps, games, vendor tents and activities that teach safety on the slopes. The resort also promotes "Your Responsibility Code," which stresses the importance of skiers and boarders knowing their ability levels and staying in control. The atmosphere at Arizona Snowbowl inspired one full-time employee to run for Flagstaff City Council in December 2011 to lend support for winter activities.
CostAn all-day adult lift ticket costs $53, or $43 for half a day. Juniors and seniors pay $29. Children 7 and younger and seniors 70 and older ski free. The Arizona Snowbowl Rental Shop is the biggest around and carries Elan skis, Dalbello boots, Rossignol snowboards and Head, Rossignol and Burton snowboard boots. An all-day adult package costs $35. Helmets are $10 extra. An adult season pass costs $699. College students pay $499, middle and high school students pay $399 and children 7 and younger and seniors 70 and older pay $29. A private lesson ranges from $40 (early bird) to $300 (full day). Group lessons are also available.
Apres-SkiGuests who stay at the Ski Lift Lodge & Cabins can enjoy a full-service restaurant that serves homemade dinners. Various dinner specials include burger sliders, tacos, pizza, wings or fried fish. Happy Hour goes on every day, with extended hours on the weekends. The cabins at the lodge are just what most guests expect at a ski resort -- rustic with a gas fireplace and wood interior. The lodge offers ski and stay specials throughout the winter season.
WATCH: Arizona Snowbowl
The Arizona Snowbowl is growing and upgrading to improve the experience of skiers and snowboarders.