fbpx

The Southwest is home to many gems for ski and snowboard enthusiasts, and even the heat of Phoenix doesn’t have to prevent you from enjoying the snow this winter. While Arizona isn’t a typical hotbed for winter sports, there are a surprising number of ski resorts near Phoenix that are accessible within a day’s drive. We’ve compiled the best places to go snowboarding and skiing near Phoenix so you can plan a perfect winter getaway and hit the slopes!

Best Places to Snowboard and Ski Near Phoenix

Arizona Nordic Village

Originally known as the Flagstaff Nordic Center, the Arizona Nordic Village operates under a philosophy of increasing outdoor education. It also just so happens to be the closest area to go skiing near Phoenix. The Arizona Nordic Village offers skiing, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing for people of all levels. On the property, there are 19 trails with a mixture of difficulty ratings, and there are group and private lessons available for first timers.

Visitors to Arizona Nordic Village love the atmosphere here, citing it as a “hidden gem” in the Flagstaff area. There are also yurts and cabins for rent on-site, which is perfect for turning your ski trip into a fun weekend getaway.

How to Get There: If you are driving, start on I-17 N, then take Historic Route 66, then US-180 W to the resort. If you are not driving, there is a public bus that goes right into the Nordic Village, routes 2 and 3.

Arizona Snowbowl

  • Distance from Phoenix: 158 miles (~3 hours)
  • Accommodations Available: Yes, at Ski Lift Lodge (FREE lodging on certain dates!)
  • Ability Level: All levels

Located 7 miles north of Flagstaff on the western slope of Mount Humphreys, the Arizona Snowbowl sits atop an ancient volcano within the San Francisco Peaks. The resort’s slogan is “where Arizona goes to ski,” and its 55 trails across all levels make this idea truly come to life. It’s true – the resort boasts the largest area of beginner terrain in Arizona, as well as the longest ski season. From the top of the slopes, you can even see out to the Grand Canyon!

On-site, the Ski Lift Lodge is the perfect spot to book a weekend getaway. Many visitors recommend the Aspen Loop run for skiers, and the Sunset Terrain Park as a fun option for advanced skiers. The whole area has a very “ski town” feel, making it an accessible change of scene from the heat of the Arizona desert.

How to Get There: If you are driving, Take the I-17 N for 144 miles to Flagstaff. Drive on S. Milton Rd. for 1.7 miles, and make a left turn onto N. Humphreys Street. Drive for another 0.7 miles and turn left onto Fort Valley Road. Drive for another 6.7 miles, and then make a right onto N. Snowbowl Road. Drive 6.6 miles until you reach the resort entrance. If not driving, there is a bus from Phoenix to Flagstaff (3 hr, $21), then a short drive to the actual mountain (7 miles).

Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley

  • Distance from Phoenix: 152 miles (~3 hours 15 min)
  • Accommodations Available: Not on-site
  • Ability Level: All levels (majority intermediate)

Located in the Santa Catalina Mountains, north of Tucson, Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley is one of the ski resorts near Phoenix that’s better for intermediate and advanced skiers. This resort has a fascinating history, as it was founded during WWI by a diverse group of ski enthusiasts. With 22 trails that are largely rated as intermediate or advanced, there’s plenty of adrenaline-inducing slopes for more experienced skiers. There’s also a ski school with lessons for beginners and first-timers. You can expect picturesque views here, as the resort is part of the Coronado National Forest.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Mt. Lemmon from Phoenix is to drive. If you are driving, start on I-10 E to E Catalina Hwy, then Mt Lemmon Hwy to Ski Run Road.

Elk Ridge Ski Area – Currently Closed

Located just minutes away from Williams, AZ, Elk Ridge Ski Area is a neighbor to the southern part of the Grand Canyon. This resort is fairly small, with just 11 trails across 37 skiable acres, and has mostly beginner-friendly and intermediate runs. There are also many options for skiers and snowboarders with disabilities. According to visitors, the conditions here are admittedly not great except in the coldest part of winter because the weather is generally warm.

The resort is part of the Kaibab National Forest, and it’s a really pretty part of the state. While Elk Ridge is probably not a ski resort you’ll stick around at for days on end, it’s a great stop to pair with a trip to the Grand Canyon or a drive on Route 66 if you’re craving some snow.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Elk Ridge from Phoenix is to drive. If you are driving, start on I-17 N, then I-40 W towards Williams, the Historic Route 66 to Ski Run Rd.

Sunrise Park Resort

  • Distance from Phoenix: 220 miles (~4 hours)
  • Accommodations Available: Yes, at the Sunrise Park Resort
  • Ability Level: All levels

Owned and operated by the White Mountain Apache Tribe, Sunrise Park Resort is a fantastic ski resort that spans 3 peaks: Sunrise Peak, Apache Peak, and Cyclone Circle. Located in the heart of the White Mountains, there’s a lot to do here for winter sports enthusiasts across the resort’s 40 acres. Trails span all levels of experience, from beginner to expert. Coined the “Aspen of Arizona,” this picturesque ski area is surrounded by forests and mountain terrain. The resort stays true to its origins with the Sunrise Mountain Pow Wow, a perfect way to get involved/observe Apache traditions and dance during your stay.

Holders of the Indy Pass can enjoy access to this resort as well as 40+ resorts around the USA and Canada. Additionally, the resort grounds are home to tons of species of wildlife, including elk, horses, and wild turkey. Don’t miss the annual Yeti Fest event, which is a local favorite featuring dog sledding!

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Sunrise from Phoenix is to drive. If you are driving, start on I-10 E to AZ- 87 Towards the White Mountains, off of 200 Hwy 273 (Greer AZ).

Lee Canyon, NV

  • Distance from Phoenix: 349 miles (~5 hours 40 min)
  • Accommodations Available: Not on-site
  • Ability Level: Mostly intermediate and advanced

Lee Canyon Ski Resort is a ski area near Las Vegas that caters mostly to intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders. While it’s not the closest of the ski resorts near Phoenix, we’ve included it because it’s still drive-able from the city center (and is just an hour north from The Strip). The resort boasts 445 acres of skiable terrain, with 26 trails. Ponderosa Glade comes highly recommended by visitors and locals as the most beautiful glade to ski on the mountain. While there’s no lodge on-site, there’s currently one under construction and there are plenty of hotels nearby.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get there from Phoenix is by car, or by flying into Las Vegas (LAS) and then driving.

Big Bear Mountain Ski Resort, CA

  • Distance from Phoenix: 350 miles (~5 hours 40 min)
  • Accommodations Available: Yes, Big Bear cabins, homes, and condos for rent
  • Ability Level: All levels

Big Bear Mountain Resort is a small but mighty ski area that packs a punch among the places to go snowboarding and skiing near Los Angeles and Southern California. At 5 hours from Phoenix by car, Big Bear is best done as a weekend getaway or paired with a road trip through California.

At Big Bear, the majority of the 26 runs are rated as blue, or intermediate level. However, there are a handful of trails in the beginner, advanced, and expert categories. For more experienced skiers and snowboarders, Bear Peak features the highest, steepest, and most challenging peak in Southern California. If you’ve got a winter birthday, you’re in luck: you can get a free lift ticket on your birthday! For apres-ski, there’s plenty to do in nearby Big Bear Village, including tons of boutiques and shops.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Big Bear from Phoenix is to drive. If driving, start on I-10 W, to CA-210 towards Pasadena, then CA-330 N to Big Bear Boulevard.

Angel Fire Resort, NM

  • Distance from Phoenix: 447 miles (~7 hours)
  • Accommodations Available: Yes, at Angel Fire Resort Lodge
  • Ability Level: All levels

Located in the Southern Rockies, Angel Fire Resort is a scenic ski area that often gets overshadowed by its big and famous neighbor, Taos. However, don’t knock this little gem before you learn more – it’s actually one of the most beloved ski resorts for beginners in the Southwest region. Because it’s lesser known than some of its nearby counterparts, you’ll escape huge crowds and find easy, leisurely slopes for learning. There are a whopping 80+ trails at the resort, ranging across experience levels from easy to expert.

In the winter, Angel Fire has an extensive snow-making capacity, which offers fresh powdered snow every day. Much of the resort consists of very accommodating and easy beginner to intermediate runs, and is family-friendly.

With its ski school for beginners and three levels of all-in-one beginner packages, Angel Fire is a great beginner-friendly ski resort that’s a great alternative to the more intimidating Taos. (Yes, we love it so much we included it in our list of the top beginner-friendly ski resorts!)

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Angel Fire is to drive from Phoenix or fly into Santa Fe/Albuquerque then rent a car. If you are driving from Phoenix, start on I-40 N towards Santa Fe, then NM-68 towards Sandia, to NM-585 onto Mountain View Blvd to Angle Fire resort.

Taos Ski Valley, NM

  • Distance from Phoenix: 568 miles (~9 hr 20 min)
  • Accommodations Available: Yes, The Blake Hotel is the resort’s on-site lodge
  • Ability Level: All levels

One of the big names in skiing in the United States, Taos Ski Valley is one of the most beautiful and coveted ski areas in the country. Most recently, it won the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Award for Best Ski Hotel. Home to the indigenous people of the Taos Pueblo, the site is the longest continuously inhabited Native American community in the US, and it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

With a whopping 110 trails ranging from beginner to expert level, there’s no shortage of adventure here. There’s a lot of snowmaking capability, keeping trails nice and crisp during the peak season. Experienced skiers especially love the variety of challenging trails throughout the resort, and beginners can find ski lessons, rentals, and more available. As a family-friendly resort, there’s tons to do on-site at the resort as well as in the surrounding areas.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Taos is to drive from Phoenix or fly into New Mexico then take the shuttle. If you are driving from Phoenix, start on I-10 E to I-40 E to Nm-240 E to NM-150 N to resort.

Deer Valley, UT

Deer Valley Ski Resort is one of the most popular and well-known ski resorts in the Park City area, and while it’s not one of the closest ski resorts near Phoenix, it’s definitely worth the day-long trek. Home to the 2002 Winter Olympics, we know this resort will give you plenty of adventure opportunities. With over 2,000 acres of skiable terrain, this large resort spans 6 mountains in Utah’s Wasatch Range. The resort focuses on providing skiers with a very luxurious, upscale experience, from well-groomed trails spanning all levels to car service to the lodge and more.

Visitors to Deer Valley love the variety of terrain and the on-site amenities, including a unique “ski with a champion” program that enables guests to book ski sessions with Olympic athletes. There are also snowmobiling tours, on-site fine dining options, and more for those who are not planning on skiing.

How to Get There: If you are driving, start on I-15 N then I-40 E towards Albuquerque, then US-189 to Deer Valley Dr. You can also fly into the Salt Lake City airport and take a direct shuttle to the resort.

Alta Ski Area, Utah

Located in the Wasatch Mountains, Alta is one of the larger resorts in Utah, clocking in at 116 trails across 2,614 acres. It’s a local favorite for skiing due to its variety in terrain and incredibly well-groomed trails with fantastic snow.

Alta is a ski-only resort with some of the best snow in the country that caters largely to more experienced skiers, with over 80% of trails rated as intermediate or advanced. There are other cool options at Alta for the adrenaline junkie, like helicopter skiing and back-country adventures. For beginners, they do offer various ski lessons as well.

How to Get There: If you are driving, start on I-15 N to US-89 N, to UT- 71 N to UT- 210 to resort. You can also fly into Salt Lake City (SLC) and take a shuttle directly to the resort.

Park City in the summertime (Photo Credit: Kay Rodriguez)

Park City Mountain Resort, UT

  • Distance from Phoenix: 669 miles (~11 hours)
  • Accommodations Available: Yes, plenty of options for families and small groups at the Park City Mountain Resort
  • Ability Level: All levels

We’ve, of course, saved a whopper for last: Park City Mountain Resort, one of the most massive ski resorts in the country with over 7,300 acres of skiable terrain. There are over 330 trails across 17 peaks in this expansive resort, 115 which are open for night skiing. Park City Mountain Resort is especially catered toward intermediate to expert-level skiers, with 90%+ of the trails ranked as intermediate or harder.

Originally a silver mining town, Park City Mountain Resort offer year-round outdoor activities. In the winter, you’ll find a seemingly endless amount of trail options, 8 terrain parks, and a variety of resources for beginner skiers. The upscale on-site resort is a great spot for a family vacation activities, with plenty of non-ski activities like winter zip lining, snowmobiling, and mountain tours.

How to Get There: If you are driving, start on I-15 N, then US-89 to UT-248 W to resort. You can also fly into Salt Lake City (SLC) and take a shuttle from Salt Lake City airport directly to the resort.

What to Pack

  • Waterproof outerwear – Possibly the most critical pieces of clothing for your ski trip packing list is durable, waterproof outerwear. Burton and Helly Hansen are famous ski brands for having best-in-class clothing that will keep you warm in the coldest, snowiest conditions. Click here to shop ski jackets and compare prices.
  • Thermal layers – Thermal baselayers are absolutely critical for a smooth skiing experience, as these will keep you warm and dry underneath your outerwear. The best kinds of thermal baselayers are made of Merino wool, which is moisture-wicking and comfortable. Our favorite brand of thermal layers is SmartWool – their tops and leggings are soft, lightweight, but warm and durable for all kinds of outdoor activities, including skiing. Click here to shop thermal tops and leggings and compare prices.
  • Ski goggles – No ski trip packing list would be complete without a pair of fog-resistant ski goggles, especially if you’re going somewhere that makes artificial snow. Ski slopes often have snow blowing into the air several times a day and it can be hard to keep freezing snowflakes out of your eyes, even during clear days. We use and recommend these ski goggles. However, you can shop ski goggles and compare reviews/prices here.

If you’re looking for a more comprehensive list of things to pack, head to our Ultimate Ski Trip Packing List to view our full packing list and gear recommendations for the slopes!

Additional Links


Comments are closed.