I read a couple of negative comments here - I think the people posting just don't get it - This is not a Colorado (Vail?) or Utah (Park City?) or even a New Mexico (Taos?) thing - This is a laid back comfortable friendly Arizona thing - I found the staff very friendly -
Here is my slice of life - One of my most memorable ski days - The drive from Phoenix to Pinetop in Northern Arizona is breathtaking - There is nothing that compares with driving long winding roads while watching the sun come up through the mountains. I woke up and started driving to the Sunrise ski area before the sun came up. I had just gotten over the flu and I was thinking that I would just kind of hang out on Saturday, get a good night's rest and do my skiing on Sunday. Before 10am, I arrived at the condos where I would be staying. Check-in time was 4pm. I had planned to either hang out by the condos in the Jacuzzi, or drive another 20 miles to the slopes and check out the lodge. The Jacuzzi was looking like the better choice - I was feeling a little better than the night before, but, I was still making good use of my tissues and 'Ricola' on the ride through the mountains.
When I stopped at the desk to pre-check in and let them know that I was going to hang out for a while, they let me know that my condo was ready for me. This was what I needed to hear. I brought my things into the condo, gulped down the rest of the spiced V8 I'd been drinking in the car and dosed myself with Airborne while boiling huge pot of water with a few drops of oil to fill the air with the smell of eucalyptus and lavender. I then made myself my favorite hot chocolate concoction - organic chocolate and honey in hot oat milk. By 11am I was feeling 'cured' - :) Relaxing with my hot cocoa, I called my friend, Morgan who was skiing with his daughter Megan. I left a message thinking that we might arrange a lunch meeting at the lodge. When he called me back, he had no difficulty at all talking me into taking advantage of the 12:30 - 4pm half-day lift ticket rate. I suited up, ate an energy bar for lunch, filled my pockets with Ricola, and headed for the slopes.
Driving into the parking lot, I was thankful that I had been able to upgrade my usual economy car rental to a hybrid SUV. The paving in the parking lot consisted mostly of hard dirt that looked like it could possibly melt into mud before the end of the day. It was a busy day and I wasn't able to park close to lodge, so I was also happy that I had my skis and boots in ski and boot bags. Still, the walk through parking lot reminded me that I was just barely post-flu.
It was almost noon. Happy to see that I had another 30 minutes to recuperate from my parking lot trek before I could buy my half-day lift ticket, I put on my boots, checked my skis and street boots with the ski valet for 75 cents, and went into the lodge for cup of instant 'latte'. While sipping my latte, and studying the trail map, I called Morgan who answered his phone from the 'Geronimo' lift. 'Could I meet them at the top of the lift?', he asks. Sure - Why not? There are three mountains at Sunrise. The parking lot and main lodge where I was sipping my latte, are at the base of the mountain furthest to the right on the trail map. The Geronimo lift was the highest lift on the middle mountain. To get there, I would have to take the high-speed lift from the main lodge, to the top of the first mountain then ski down and around taking first a green then a blue run to the second mountain.
I collected my skis from the ski valet and thinking of my parking lot trek, gave him $4.00 to cover the over-night rate - This was a bargain that would save me the trouble of carrying the skis back and forth across the parking lot after skiing Saturday and before the skiing that I was still planning to do on Sunday. It was almost 12:30 when I purchased my lift ticket and stepped into my skis.
The skiing was PERFECT - A beautiful sunny day - I met my friends at the Geronimo lift and skied gloveless with my jacket open for close to 3 hours. It was all so beautiful that, except for the moment when I was popping in a Ricola telling my friends to please ski on ahead - I would have completely forgotten about the fact that I was getting over the flu. It did hit me after I took my skis off and climbed the stairs in the lodge. I sat motionless for about 30 minutes well aware that I was pretty much SPENT. Finally, at around 4pm I drove back to the condo, nuked myself some lasagna, dosed myself with more Airborne, and boiled more aroma therapy water and just enjoyed the endorphin high that one gets from fighting off the flu with a ski day.