After snowboarding in Arizona for what seems like forever, it was finally the time to head south, to a place called Ski Valley. The southernmost ski resort in North America is located in the Coronado National Forest on Mt Lemmon in Tucson...that's a stones throw away from the US/Mexico border.
I never believed this shred spot actually existed, but reports were saying they had ample snow and good conditions, so it would make for an adventurous day mission. Al and I loaded up the car and started the trek south from Phoenix, arriving at the base of Mt Lemmon in two hours time. From there it's a 28-mile (45 km) switchback fest that starts at 1000 feet above sea-level (304 meters), ending at 8,000 feet (2438 meters). A slow climb that starts in the desert and ends in the forest...it's definitely a trip!
Upon arrival to Ski Valley we found plenty of snow under spring-like conditions with no lift lines. The lift up takes seven minutes while the run back down you could finish in three to four minutes. Surprisingly, the terrain was somewhat steep and it was decent snowboarding given the geographic location of this place. We located freestyle friendly bumps, jumps and transitions, followed by some tree-bonkage, a wrap around catwalk to butter the muffin ender. All in all, epic boardin' in the desert.
Once the afternoon session was completed, we hopped back in the car, stopped near the entrance of the canyon for the saguaro cactus/snowboard photos, and then made a beeline back to Phoenix. Would I recommend Ski Valley to y'all? If you find yourself in southern Arizona during the winter, make the move up the highway for one heck of a scenic drive and the mellow vibes of snowboarding in Tucson. Blotto
All photos by Blotto © 2011