So you may be familiar with the term “snowed in”, but around Flagstaff, Arizona, a good blanket of cold white stuff is cause for celebration, not cabin fever. Nestled in at over 7,000 feet elevation with a pretty frame of mountain peaks to lend ambiance, Flagstaff, Arizona is both beauty spot and ski destination. And when you factor in its proximity to sun-drenched Phoenix, a mere 146 miles away, it’s like having your cake with delectable icing too.
Though they only get about 100 inches of powder in Flagstaff annually, that’s enough to keep the local ski resort, Arizona Skibowl, open from December well into April, weather depending. It’s not overwhelming in size, and the runs are split between beginner and intermediate, but hey, it’s a short trip from Phoenix, a shorter trip from Flagstaff and we think it’s a very welcome change from often crowded major ski destinations. There’s also a terrain park on hand, but for more family friendly snow play, consider visiting one of the numerous local snowplay areas where sledding, snowmen, cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing are permitted. Some places, like Mormon Lake Lodge (southeast of Flagstaff) even offer guided snowmobile rides.
Looking for a scenic break from the slopes? Flagstaff is only 78 miles from Grand Canyon National Park, but conveniently closer and open all year are other natural attractions like Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument (arguably at its best with light dusting of powder) and Wupatki National Monument (at just the right temperature during winter months). Walnut Canyon National Monument, which ranges from historic pueblo to canyon habitat, is also within easy reach of Flagstaff and open year-round.
And finally, if you haven’t gotten enough of the sun in Phoenix, head over to Lowell Observatory during a winter lunch break and enjoy a good look at the Sun through a special solar telescope on a clear day. Winter blues? Not here, thank-you very much.