You can see the Grand Canyon off in the distance

A Weekend Skiing the Arizona Snowbowl

“You can ski in Arizona?” asked a friend confused. “How on earth can you ski in a desert”? Until a few years ago, I would have also been equally in disbelief that it is actually possible to not only ski but ski real mountains in the state of Arizona. Little did I know, the college town of Flagstaff, Arizona, located about two and a half hours north of Phoenix, is home to the Arizona Snowbowl, Arizona’s best skiing.

As an avid skier, I confess to believing that there was no way that the Arizona Snowbowl could possibly compare to the skiing in Colorado, New Mexico, Montana or Utah, all places I’ve skied over the years. Yet after a long weekend skiing the Arizona Snowbowl with my father and two children, I realized that the skiing is actually pretty darn good and worth the trip. If you live in Phoenix and want a taste of the snow and mountains, then even better!

Flagstaff, Arizona

The Arizona Snowbowl is located in Flagstaff, Arizona about 2 1/2 hours north of Phoenix. Photo courtesy of Google Maps.

With an average of over 240 inches of annual snowfall and normally beautiful sunny blue skies, the Arizona Snowbowl has the longest ski season in Arizona as well as the largest beginner terrain in the Southwest. It is a great place to go with kids as there are plenty of nice long cruiser runs, a good ski school and it is very family-friendly. For those who want more challenge, you can take the Agassiz lift up to the top at 11,500 feet and climb up to the Upper Bowl where there are plenty of double black diamonds to take your breathe away. For moderate skiers, there are some nice blues and blacks where you can fly down at breakneck speed and feel the thrill of spring skiing in February. Best of all, are the incredible views on top where you can see the Grand Canyon off in the distance.

Flagstaff, Arizona

View of the sunrise over the mountains from our hotel in Flagstaff, Arizona

So why on earth did we travel from Minneapolis to Phoenix to ski in Flagstaff, Arizona over President’s Day Weekend? Simple. My parents live in Tucson and Flagstaff offered the perfect meeting place for us to do a three-generational ski weekend. We had tried Utah, New Mexico and Colorado before so we decided why not try something entirely new. Plus it is free to ski for those over 70 so my dad was pleased to ski for free.

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Sunset Crater Volcano National Park Arizona

Road trip Arizona: From Sedona to the Grand Canyon

Back in October, my husband and I decided it was time to make a road trip north and show our two children the Grand Canyon. We had visited southern Arizona countless times before always staying with my parents in Tucson. Yet, we had never ventured north as a family to see one of the greatest natural wonders on earth.

Since I am not all too fond of long road trips with the kids, we decided to split our trip up into several different stops along the way. We spent the first night in sensational Sedona where we enjoyed the raw beauty of her legendary red rocks. It was also a perfect midway point to the Grand Canyon from Tucson ensuring our kids (or me) wouldn’t get too stir crazy with all the driving.

The next morning, after an early sunrise hike we set off for our long drive to the Grand Canyon making several fabulous stops along the way. Our first stop as secretly planned unbeknownst to the kids who were happily watching a DVD and had already been fed a sandwich, was to the trendy, hip college town of Flagstaff about an hour’s drive north of Sedona. We knew that there were tons of delicious foodie restaurants and found a perfect venue for lunch.

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