Located in scenic and beautiful Flagstaff Arizona, the Arizona Snowbowl is a haven for skiers and snowboarders. Approximately 2 1/2 hours from Phoenix, the locale offers fun and quality runs for skiers and boarders of all experience levels. Upon arrival, the friendly and helpful staff not only got us parked, but gave cars and trucks plenty of room to maneuver for those who depart earlier in the day. I noticed a long line for the rental equipment shop and was very happy that I decided to bring my own equipment for this visit. Even though I had not skied in over nine years, and had some issues with my boot buckles being stubborn, I was up and ready to go shortly after our arrival.
Directly behind the lodge was a very safe warm-up slope that gave me a chance to get used to the snow conditions and terrain. I always prefer to do a couple of runs on the bunny slope just to get back into the swing of things and then head up to the chair lift, and this time was no exception. The scenic beauty of the place was awe-inspiring and the recent snowfall had left plenty on the course. It was noticeably warm however and in a couple of occasions, I found myself having to deal with powder and ice as well as navigate around numerous ski school lessons during my warm-up.
When I reached the bottom of the hill after my first run, I was surprised to see that the tow rope was no longer in place. Instead, a magic carpet was used to ferry riders to the top. Think of a moving sidewalk that you need to ski onto before the rubber grips on the mat stop your momentum and whisk you up the hill. While I pulled it off without a hitch, it was a bit disconcerting, as I had to lean forward to maintain my balance and kept thinking I should be holding onto something.
A few of the guests informed me that conditions the previous day were absolutely amazing, and that due to the warming there were some areas of the runs that were little more icy than usual. While it was certainly not bad, I did exercise a little more speed control until identified the areas that were best suited for opening up and those where a more conservative approach was a more practical option.
For those looking for a greater challenge, there were some very advanced runs complete with some impressive moguls available. I did not take those in on this trip simply because time was an issue and with so many years away from skiing, I thought sticking to the intermediate levels was best for this trip. Besides, while I am capable and have skied black diamond runs before, I do not find them as enjoyable simply because you generally have to attack them rather than take a more leisurely approach down the run.
After a few more runs I took my place on one of the resorts ski lifts and one further up one of the more intermediate trails so that I could enjoy a longer run on a less crowded area. The line did take a while to get on the lift but once at the top I found myself leisurely making my way down the mountain and having a very pleasant time.
My wife opted out of skiing and boarding on this trip, and instead focused on taking pictures,
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