Now that it’s cooling down and the skiing/snowboarding season is upon us, we wanted to find out where the best places are to make the most of it. Obviously a bit of travel is needed if you’re sitting in the middle of Arizona wanting to get in touch with some fresh powder, but Kenny McMillan, president of Snowdevils in Tempe, says Arizona is situated in the middle of some prime snowboarding locations that are only a road trip away, so we asked him to share some of his favorite snowboarding locations.
Location: Flagstaff, Arizona
Skiable acres: 777
Number of lifts: 6
Number of trails: 40
Vertical lift: 2,300 ft.
Just 14 miles outside of Flagstaff in the San Francisco Peaks, Arizona Snowbowl tempts Phoenix residents with its beautiful trails. Expert riders will also be pleased to try out Sunset Terrain Park to hit boxes, rails, hits, spines, and more.
McMillan says Snowbowl is the perfect place to get that itchy ski and snowboarding urge out of your system and he compliments their friendly and knowledgeable staff. He also says it’s a great mountain for beginners to learn what skiing and snowboarding are all about.
Location: Pagosa Springs, Colorado
Skiable acres: 1,600
Number of lifts: 7
Number of trails: 77
Vertical lift: 1,604 ft.
Wolf Creek boasts the most snow in Colorado, averaging 430 natural inches of snowfall annually. The Snowdevils have made a tradition of going to Wolf Creek every Thanksgiving because they are such massive fans. The town surrounding it is quite small and friendly, but did we mention they have natural hot springs?
“Wolf Creek is amazing,” McMillan says. “The reason we go there every Thanksgiving is because early on in the season, they’ve got knee-to-waist deep powder on their back country.”
Location: Big Bear Lake, California
Skiable acres: 748
Number of lifts: 12
Number of trails: 24
Vertical lift: 1,665 ft.
“They really try to make you feel like you’re not just a resort—you’re at your friend’s mountain. It’s a really friendly place,” McMillan says.
Big Bear is for big boys and girls and with 17 rideable miles, it might not be best suited for first timers. They even have a superpipe, halfpipe and beginner pipe for anyone who wants to try their hand at Olympic greatness.
“Bear mountain is all park,” McMillan says. “If you’re into trying tricks or doing tricks, that is your wheelhouse. Red Bull dropped a whole bunch of money to make the Red Bull Plaza. It looks like they pulled stuff out of a city and dropped it on the mountain and were like, ‘Hit it.’”
Location: Telluride, Colorado
Skiable acres: 2,000
Number of lifts: 18
Number of trails: 120
Vertical lift: 3,274 ft.
Located eight hours away from Phoenix, Telluride is a community that’s all about making tourists feel welcome in their beautifully scenic town. McMillan says the mountain is massive and that the ride down from the peak is extensive.
“The town of telluride is just phenomenal,” McMillan says. “The people are awesome, they’ve got great restaurants and a couple bars. I met a girl who was at the time working at a liquor store that I may or may not have fallen in love with.”
Location: Wrightwood, California
Skiable acres: 3,500 acres
Number of lifts: 28
Number of trails: 150 named trails
Vertical lift: 1,500 ft.
Mammoth Mountain has the highest summit of any California resort and is happy to report 400 inches of snowfall and 300 days of sunshine annually on average. McMillan says it’s a family friendly place that’s covered in snow and ready to go.