Skiing and snowboarding in Arizona? Absolutely!
Located on the magnificent Mount Humpreys in the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff, Arizona Snowbowl is just 2 hours from Phoenix and 4 hours from Tucson.
Originally opened in 1938, Arizona Snowbowl is 777 acres of skiing and snowboarding bliss. With 55 runs, 8 lifts, and 2,800 feet of vertical drop, there's something for every skier or snowboarder. Whether this is your first time skiing or you are seasoned on the slopes, Arizona Snowbowl has a lot to offer - including the longest skiing season in the state!
Snowbowl receives natural snowfall (about 260 inches per year) due to its elevation at 9,200 feet, but Arizona Snowbowl also makes use of a state-of-the-art snowmaking system in order to "provide consistency" and to "allow guests to plan their vacation with confidence." As a result, Arizona Snowbowl is able to stay open from late November to mid-April or later!
Make plans for Family Fridays! From January 19, 2024, through February 23, 2024, families can ski on Friday afternoons from 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm and take advantage of $20 lift tickets, $20 ski and snowboard rentals, and FREE tips & tricks lesson sessions at the Little Spruce beginner area!
Passholder Early Load Days will be offered to 23/24 pass holders throughout the winter season. This is an exclusive passholder event that will allow skiers and snowboarders to enjoy early access to the mountain on the Grand Canyon Express Chairlift several times throughout the season! Passholders are encouraged to learn more about Passholder Early Load Days on the events page at Snowbowl.ski.
Basecamp at Snowbowl offers the closest lodging to Snowbowl and offers 26 newly renovated, non-smoking cabins, suites, and hotel rooms. Along with the charming cabins located in the heart of Northern Arizona, Basecamp at Snowbowl offers a full restaurant and bar for guests to kick back and relax while taking in the scenes of the Ponderosa Pines and mountain landscape. This winter, guests can take advantage of the Ski FREE with Basecamp special and enjoy two FREE lift tickets with each night booked during the 23/24 winter season. Season passholders who do not need lift tickets will receive a $15 resort credit to use at any Arizona Snowbowl outlet for each night booked during the 23/24 winter season. Restrictions apply.
One of the most important things to consider for your skiing or snowboarding adventure is what to wear - and not for fashion reasons! The amount of fun that you (and your kids) have will be directly tied to if you are able to stay dry and warm throughout the day.
If at all possible, DO NOT wear jeans, sweats, or leggings.
If you don't own everything on the above list, consider borrowing from a friend or family member.
Helmets are available to rent at Arizona Snowbowl for $12 per person per day and can also be purchased at the on-site retail shops. If you are seeking a more economical option, borrow a helmet from a friend or purchase a used helmet at a local sports shop before your trip. You can also check Craigslist or eBay, where ski helmets can sometimes be found for $18-$50+.
Goggles are NOT available for rent at Arizona Snowbowl so be sure to borrow or purchase a pair before your trip. While goggles are not required, they improve your visibility on the slopes, reduce any glare from the sun, and keep snow out of your eyes.
Arizona Snowbowl has equipment rental packages available for both children and adults.
Rentals include: boots or board, skis (if applicable), and poles (if applicable), and/or snowboard (if applicable). Rentals DO NOT include helmets or goggles. Be sure to know the weight, height, and birthdate of every person in your party.
Helmets are available for rent at a rate of $12 per person per day.
If you have boots but need to rent skis & poles or a snowboard (or vice versa), there are reduced rental rates available.
The rental area is open from 8:00am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday, and 7:30am to 4:30pm on weekends and holidays. Last rentals at 2:30pm. Equipment is due back by 4:30pm. A $10 late fee applies.
Arizona Snowbowl’s sports store is your one-stop destination to purchase coats, bibs, gloves, goggles ($40-$300), helmets ($80-$200), hats, and almost anything else you may have forgotten.
Here is a short list of what to bring with you for a day of skiing or snowboarding at Arizona Snowbowl:
Parking is free at Arizona Snowbowl. There are ten lots, but they sometimes do fill to capacity on holidays, busy weekends, and powder days. On days in which 4WD or chains are required for travel on Snowbowl Road, FREE shuttle service is available from the Fort Valley Lodge at the base of Snowbowl Road. On busy weekends, we recommend taking the Mountain Express (a FREE shuttle) from downtown Flagstaff, which runs every 20 minutes on scheduled days.
While the parking can be pretty convenient, depending on where you park, you are almost certainly going to want to rent a locker instead of walking back-and-forth to your car. Lockers can be rented for $10 per day. We rented a locker for our family and were able to put in: four pairs of boots, extra layers, snacks, and a bag.
With the largest beginner terrain in the Southwest and innovative Terrain Based Learning™ features, the Arizona Snowbowl Ski and Ride School offers "friendly, industry-leading instruction for first-time skiers and snowboarders."
To make it even easier to learn, beginners (ages 13+) enjoy FREE Snow Experience lessons with the purchase of a full-day lift ticket. FREE Snow Experience lessons are available at 10:00am and 1:00pm on weekdays, and 9:00am, 10:00am, and 1:00pm on weekends.
For experienced riders looking to take their skills to the next level, advanced lessons offer opportunities to progress in the park, shred steeps, and sharpen overall technique.
You can spot the certified ski and snowboard instructors by their royal blue jackets.
Children are grouped by age and ability level - SkiWee program for ages 4-6 and the Mountain Kids program for ages 7-12. On weekdays, lessons are available as follows: a 2-hour morning session (10:00am-noon) or a 2-hour afternoon session (1:00-3:00pm). There are more lesson options available on weekends and during holidays.
Online reservations are strongly recommended. If you drive up the mountain on the day of and expect to enroll your kids in ski school, you may be disappointed. Walk-ins are sometimes available, but on a very limited basis.
How far in advance should I make reservations for ski school?
As early as possible - especially for private lessons and the 4-6 year old SkiWee program! Reservations are recommended for all ages on busy weekends, but Mountain Kids (8-12), Teen, and Adult group lessons do accept walk-ups based on availability.
What should my child wear?
All children are required to wear waterproof pants, a waterproof jacket, a hat or helmet, waterproof gloves or mittens, and sunglasses or ski goggles. Please label all items with your child’s name.
Does my child need to have a helmet?
Helmets are recommended for safety reasons, but are not required. Helmets are available for rent at Arizona Snowbowl for $12 per day.
What is the difference between a ski helmet and a bike helmet?
Ski helmets have more coverage, are warmer, and generally include earmuffs. Most ski helmets are also designed to be used with goggles, which is evident in the shape as well as the goggle retention strap/clip at the back of the helmet. Bike helmets have a large number of ventilations holes which allow snow to get in and they do not protect the ears like ski helmets do.
Does my child need to have goggles?
Goggles or sunglasses are required. Need goggles? Check out the retail shop at Snowbowl.
Will I be able to see my child while they are at Ski School?
The slopes can get very busy - especially during holidays and peak seasons. You will check-in your child at the designated time and then pick them up when the lesson ends. They won't necessarily stay in the same area the entire time so it may be difficult to keep eyes on them for the entire duration of ski school.
Which chairs/slopes are recommended for a child's first day(s) of skiing?
The Little Spruce conveyor is where the children's ski school is located. After that, try the Big Spruce conveyor, Aspen chair, and - finally - Hart Prairie lift. That would be a good progression to gradually increase difficulty.
How old/tall does my child need to be to ride each of the lifts?
There are no age or height requirements, however children must be independent and cannot be in backpack style child carriers.
Bringing a baby or toddler with you to Arizona Snowbowl? There won't be much for your little one to do.
If it's a cold or blizzardy day, you'll likely find yourself inside at one of the lodge restaurants - which can get crowded and aren't especially clean due to people tromping about in muddy boots.
If the sun is shining and the temperatures are moderate, you can bundle up your baby/toddler and play in the snow outside or watch other family members as they descend the slopes. Note that sleds and tubes are not permitted on Arizona Snowbowl. For other snowplay options in Flagstaff, check out this page or call The Snowplay Hotline at 1-844-256-SNOW.
Can my toddler/preschooler go skiing?
Kids must be at least 3-years-old in order to enroll at ski school at Arizona Snowbowl. That being said, you are welcome to rent/bring equipment and to attempt skiing with your little one on your own.
Is there a family restroom anywhere on the property?
Are there changing tables in the restrooms?
Is there an area where I can nurse my baby or pump?
Unfortunately, the lodges and common spaces can get crazy-crowded on weekend. Privacy will likely be hard to come by. That being said, there are benches and chairs in the restaurants (see picture below of the restaurant at Hart Prairie Lodge) and locker rooms.
Can my baby or toddler ride in the ski lift with me?
There are no age or height requirements. Note that babies cannot be in backpack style child carriers.
There are three restaurants at Arizona Snowbowl: Hart Prairie Lodge, Agassiz Lodge, and Fremont Restaurant & Bar.
Hart Prairie Lodge has a restaurant and bar in a central location, which makes it easily accessible from all slopes. There is plentiful outdoor seating and AZ Snowbowl bills this restaurant as "great for families with a rustic, mountain lodge feel." If you are enrolling in ski school or if you are a beginning skier, you may find that Hart Prairie Lodge is your "home base" for the day.
Agassiz Lodge is a restaurant and bar, located in the upper base area near the Arizona Gondola. Indoor seating is limited, but there is a large deck with great views of the peaks and surrounding runs. Agassiz is popular with younger groups, couples, and solo skiers. Fewer families convene at this location.
Fremont Restaurant and Bar is the newest restaurant and has a modern, airy feel. This is still fast-casual service, but you'll find some higher-end menu options such as tacos, burritos, and salads.
All three restaurants are ultra-casual and offer both breakfast & lunch entrees - burritos, sandwiches, burgers, chicken tenders, pizza, chili, etc. - at typical amusement center prices ($7-$15/meal).
While there are no children's menus, most of the entree choices are items that are often found on standard kids menus - pizza, grilled cheese, tenders, etc.
If you are visiting Arizona Snowbowl but do not plan on skiing (for example, your teens are skiing but you are not), you will probably find yourself at one of the lodge restaurants. Be sure to bring a water bottle, a book, and/or some other hobby.
Are any of the lifts open to non-skiers?
In the winter, the Arizona Gondola offers Scenic Gondola Rides daily from 1:00pm-4:00pm, weather permitting. However, Scenic Gondola Riders must ride separately from skiers/snowboarders and cannot unload at the top.
The city of Flagstaff, which is less than 30 minutes from Arizona Snowbowl, offers plenty of hotels, motels, and vacation rentals to choose from.
Basecamp at Snowbowl is the closest lodging to Arizona Snowbowl (about a 15 minute drive) and offers your choice of traditional rooms, cozy cabins, or spacious suites. Select units include fireplaces, living rooms, and a full kitchen. Refuel after a full-day of adventures at the on-site restaurant featuring a full bar and daily specials.
Basecamp Restaurant, which is located at the base of Snowbowl Road and Highway 180, boasts a hearty menu with entrees, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and vegetarian options plus a full bar.
There are so many excellent deals to be found at Arizona Snowbowl! You may be surprised at how affordable it can be.
Current promotions include:
Individual lift tickets start as low as $19 per day. Tickets are available for purchase online and the site uses dynamic pricing (similar to airline ticketing) so prices vary. Some promotions require online/advance purchase. Select blackout dates may apply.
Because Flagstaff is such a short drive from Tucson, a season pass or POWER PASS may be well worth the price - especially if you would like to return many times throughout the year. With a season that extends from November to April, you should have plenty of opportunities to practice your skiing or boarding skills!