Arizona Snowbowl

78 Years as Northern Arizona’s Winter Playground

By Elizabeth Morse

Olympic History Rooted in Arizona Snowbowl

Did you know that the current head coach of the U.S. Olympic Freeskiing and Snowboarding teams, Mike Jankowski, started his career at the Arizona Snowbowl?

Jankowski began his career as an instructor back in 1994 while attending Northern Arizona University. It is at the Snowbowl where he found his love and passion for the winter sports. His break came in 2003 when he became the Halfpipe coach and team manager for the U.S. Olympic Snowboard Halfpipe team. In 2011, he transitioned to the head coach of the U.S. Olympic Freeskiing and Snowboarding teams for the halfpipe and slopestyle.

Jankowski coached Sage Kotesenburg who was the first-ever Olympic gold medalist in slopestyle, first medal for Team USA and the first medal of the Sochi Winter Olympics. This was monumental in American Winter Olympic history because Kotsenburg was the first American since 1952 to win the first gold medal of a Winter Olympics and only the fourth to do so.

After leading Team USA to double gold at the Sochi Winter Olympics, he gave a shout out to Arizona Snowbowl, where it all began. “Thx 4 the love from AZ. I wouldn’t be here in Sochi if I didn’t start there,” he tweeted after the gold medal.

“I got my start snowboarding right there on the slopes of Hart Prairie at Arizona Snowbowl. Went up there solo. I didn’t really know what to expect when I got to the top and made my way down Hart Prairie that first day; however, I have never looked back since,” Jankowski explained.

I got my start snowboarding right there on the slopes of Hart Prairie at Arizona Snowbowl.”


Speaking of Sochi, Arizona Snowbowl also uses the same type of snowmaking machines used in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Snowmaking is the process of creating man-made snow. Though Flagstaff receives natural snowfall during the winter season, snowmaking offers the resort a safety net to be able to provide its guests the winter wonderland they expect. Snowmaking also offers vacationers and winter sport athletes to plan a trip to snowboard and ski in advance without worrying about whether there’s going to be snow or not. J.R. Murray, general manager, is quick to point out that not only do they use the same type of snowmaking machines used in the recent Sochi Winter Olympics, but also uses 100 percent reclaimed water. Arizona Snowbowl is proud to be resourceful and respectful to the beautiful environment by preserving potable water. Thanks to the natural elevation reaching higher than 9,500 feet and snowfall in Flagstaff, Snowbowl is able to maintain a consistent winter setting for its guests through the snowmaking process, which in turn allows guests to plan vacations in advance – as opposed to “just waiting until it snows to make a spontaneous ski/snowboard trip to Snowbowl.”
If you’re from out of state, specifically from a state like Michigan where you’re accustomed to the winter season, it’s hard to imagine that Arizona has any snow. However, located in Flagstaff is a place that prides itself as being “Your Winter Playground” – the Arizona Snowbowl. After a couple of grueling hot summer months, some people like to escape to the Snowbowl to enjoy skiing and snowboarding. Or in some cases, some just like to go for the incredible scenery Flagstaff has to offer.

Beyond the Snowboard & Skiing Experience

Arizona Snowbowl installed the new Humphreys Peak Chairlift, which opened Dec 18 just in time for its peak winter season and has made a huge impact to the mountain. It features room for four people on each seat and a 780 vertical rise, reaching 3,060 feet in length. It provides access to some of the mountain’s newest and best terrain. It’s exciting because it is Snowbowl’s first new chairlift in 30 years!

Other new things to look for this season is the widening and grading of the popular Ridge Trail, as well as the intermediate Phoenix Trail. Improvements are in the works as well, including engineering and planning for new lifts like the approved Grand Canyon Express – the first high-speed lift that will serve 90 percent of the terrain covered by the Agassiz chairlift – and increasing the snowmaking capacity on key trails, such as Casino, Tiger, Black Jack and Phoenix.

Snowbowl also offers various seasonal promotions and programs including the Ski-Free Program, Stay-Free Lodging, Dew Downtown: Mountain Dew’s Urban Ski & Snowboard Festival, as well as discounted daily lift ticket program for corporations wishing to buy tickets in bulk.

Summer Season

Though there are many seasonal promotions and packages available for snowboarding and skiing, there are also other perks to the beautiful Flagstaff community to see and experience. With a location on the San Francisco Peaks, 14 miles from Downtown Flagstaff, 70 miles to the Grand Canyon and spanning over 777 acres with an elevation reaching over 9,200 feet, Arizona Snowbowl offers more than just a winter resort experience.

Aside from the Humphreys Chairlift that offers a breathtaking view of the Grand Canyon, Snowbowl also offers summer season festivities. Many people enjoy hiking the San Francisco Peaks on the three trails that Snowbowl features. Kachina Trail, Humphreys Peak Trail and Aspen Loop Trail are roughly two to five mile hikes that take anywhere from one to four hours to complete. These trails range in elevations, each providing scenic views from the tops of both the city below and the gorgeous nature surrounding it.

Arizona Snowbowl has park interpreters that educate visitors on the scope and significance of the San Francisco Volcanic Field.

Disc Golf is another commodity that the Snowbowl offers. It features an 18-hole course open all summer, every day during normal business hours. The course was originally built for the 2003 Professional Disc Golf Association Championships. Most families only opt to complete holes one through five, which typically takes an hour to complete – rather than play the entire course. Discs are available for rent at the shop inside Agassiz Lodge.

With the stunning scenery and space available at Arizona Snowbowl, they also host weddings and events. Both indoor and outdoor options are available and Snowbowl offers a full-service venue. Wedding options are not available during the winter season. Snowbowl prides itself on its catering menu quoting it to be one of the best in northern Arizona. The menu offers a wide range of meal options for an affordable price. If you’re looking for a casual business retreat, Arizona Snowbowl has all the resources to host a fun, relaxing getaway as well.

Arizona Snowbowl

9300 Snowbowl Road Flagstaff, AZ 86001 (928) 779-1951