3 Hours From Phoenix
Lifts, Snow Conditions, Terrain, Crowds
I Finally got to actually ski at Snowbowl after previously driving there twice only to find out that they were not operating on both of those days due to what would be classified as moderate winds. There were two reasons that i went back: curiosity of what there actually is at the resort, and because i had a free lift ticket. The best way that i can sum up the overall experience is "boring." The lifts are extremely slow, and if you want to ski any terain that could be classified as intermediate to advanced you have to take the long Agassiz lift. Even on a Wednesday i had to wait at least 5 minutes to get on the lift, sometimes in teh 8-10 minute range. Once on, it definitely takes 15-20 minutes to ride up, and then you can ski down rather quickly in 3-5 minutes, depending on your trail. So, if you add it all up, you get to do about 2 top to bottom runs per hour......and this is on a weekday. I can only imagine what a weekend is like. There are other shorter lifts at the resort, but they service beginner terrian. My visit was 5 days after they recieved 60-90 inches of snow from a major storm, and there was a lot of iced over patches on the mountain due to the positioning of the resort in relation to the winter sun. I was expecting much better packed powder than there actually was. The terrain park was OK, as i have seen much better and much worse, and anyone who claims that there is nightlife at the resort is lying. There is absolutely no nightlife around the resort, the closest "nightlife" would be in the city of Flagstaff and its easily a 25 minute drive from the base lodge.
Overall, i expected more, and i know it is Arizona, but i still find it hard to believe that anyone can classify this as being a great place to ski or ride. Anyone who can honestly say that this place has great terrain and is an overall good skiing experience hasnt been to a resort that has modern amenities, where you actually ski or ride for a greater amount of time than you are on the lift. When you compare a $70-$80 lift ticket somewhere else to a $50 lift ticket at Snowbowl, there is no comparison in what you get for your money.
I will probably go back at some time in the future, but only if i have another free ticket.