A Weekend of Winter in Northern Arizona
A weekend of winter in Northern Arizona is the perfect getaway close to home for a real seasons feeling. Many people living in Phoenix are from somewhere else and, although they may have left “home” for warmer weather, that occasional cold or snowy weekend is a fun change of pace.
The two best options for a weekend winter getaway are Arizona’s White Mountains and the Flagstaff area. Both will bring the winter temperatures and possibility of snow. There are skiing options in both places and other winter activities, as well. Here is a look at a few of the winter highlights in both areas and accommodation options for a weekend of winter in Northern Arizona.
A Weekend of Winter in Northern Arizona, White Mountains:
What to do: The cities of Show Low, Pinetop-Lakeside, Snowflake,Taylor and Greer comprise the recreation wonderland known as Arizona’s White Mountains. The largest stand of ponderosa pine graces this region of Northeastern Arizona where hunting, fishing, camping and skiing are plentiful. From the quiet, cool beauty of the mountain air, to the rich cultures of the communities and Indian tribes, there’s plenty to do in the White Mountains.
In the winter months, skiing, tubing and sledding down snow covered hills are favorites in the region. Sunrise Park Resort, located in the heart of the White Mountains and Arizona’s premier ski destination, is a great place to learn to ski or snowboard or spend the weekend taking on the three mountains if you’re already a pro. With 65 runs, there is sure to be adventure for skiers and boarders of all levels. For the advanced snow adventurers, Sunrise Park Resort offers a terrain park featuring implanted wood and metal rails, boxes and a special event area with jumps for all skill levels. Additionally, Sunrise is home to cross country trails, sledding and tubing.
Where to stay: There are a small amount of motels and hotels in the White Mountains area and Sunrise Park Resort offers 100 rooms of lodging however, the most plentiful accommodations in this region are cabin rentals. Cool Mountain Vacations offers a plethora of cabin rentals in Show Low and Pinetop-Lakeside with all fully-furnished options in every size and price range.
A Weekend of Winter in Northern Arizona, Flagstaff area:
What to do: The Flagstaff area is a popular spot due to its proximity to Phoenix. It can get busier than the White Mountains area due to the shorter drive, but there is still plenty to do in the winter. Snowbowl is the ski resort outside Flagstaff which has 40 runs for varying degrees of skiers and boarders and also the Sunset Terrain Park with obstacles, spines, rails, and fun boxes for the skilled adventurers.
Also popular for families during the Holiday season, The North Pole Experience and The Polar Express, are both near the Flagstaff area. The activities, focused on the magic of Christmas and Santa Claus, are both great options for families with young children. The North Pole Experience
The North Pole Experience (NPX) in Flagstaff is the home of Santa’s authentic 400 year old workshop and one-of-a-kind Christmas experience. Guests will enjoy a 1 hour and 45 minute “Christmas adventure of a lifetime” with a trolley bus ride to the North Pole through a magic portal. Inside his famously grand workshop and toy factory headquarters, they will work side-by-side with Santa and his elves, building toys. Also included in the experience is a tour of Santa’s Toy Hall of Fame, attendance of Elf University, cookies inside Mrs. Claus’s Bakery, viewing Santa’s sleigh and mission control, and special one-on-one family time and photo with Santa.
The Polar Express is a special chance for the family to experience the magic of the treasured holiday classic story by Chris Van Allsburg. Every winter, the Grand Canyon Railway’s Polar Express comes to life on a journey from the nighttime wilderness of Williams, Arizona, to the enchanted “North Pole” where Santa and his reindeer are waiting with a keepsake for every good boy and girl. On the journey aboard the train, you’ll enjoy hot cocoa and cookies with listening to the story. The ride lasts a little over an hour, with three departures daily.
Where to stay: If you’re heading up to ski, Arizona Snowbowl has their own ski lift lodge and cabins. For The North Pole Experience, consider Little America. This hotel has an NPX trolley departure to take you straight to the experience. in addition, the property displays over a million Christmas lights. For those interested in The Polar Express, consider the on location Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. Designed to resemble the century-old train depot that housed the original Fray Marcos Hotel, the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel is a relaxing retreat in a picturesque Western setting. For those not partaking in the Christmas festivities, consider staying in a cabin rental in the Flagstaff area. There are an abundance of cabins of all sizes and price range available online.
No matter which you choose for your weekend of winter in Northern Arizona, an escape to the White Mountains or Flagstaff are sure to bring a little winter magic escape from the mild Phoenix winter.