Summer in Phoenix or winter in heavy snow?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Summer in Phoenix or winter in heavy snow?

    Keep in mind that here you can ride a little bit, especially at night, although it is often miserable to ride in the summer. In areas where it snows you most likely cant ride at all but can do some other stuff. Which would you rather do?

  2. #2
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    No contest, Phoenix all the way. I can be in the mountains and cool temps in 2-3 hrs even when it's 115 here...
    Desert Sunset Calls/Upward, Pain, Perseverance/Welcome Solitude

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenbentit View Post
    No contest, Phoenix all the way. I can be in the mountains and cool temps in 2-3 hrs even when it's 115 here...
    Thats true, I didnt consider that we can drive right up to flag or something. But I cant think of a place where it snows consistantly and you can drive right down to the desert.

  4. #4
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    Big Bear is a good spot for that, tons of snow in the winter and a short drive down to the desert (well, kinda short). The riding situation kinda took a hit once they banned DH bikes though...
    Desert Sunset Calls/Upward, Pain, Perseverance/Welcome Solitude

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    Snow, but not like Wyoming winters any longer for me. Flag is perfect, I still get to ski powder when it hits but it doesn't feel like the Arctic for 9 months out of the year. If you don't ski and ski powder well I don't expect you can understand but the sensation and thrill of big fresh back country lines trumps everything that I have ever experienced. That heat you guys have down there is something I can't deal with plus in the long run 4 million people in the middle of the Sonoran is just not sustainable. The days of life as it's being lived here in the south west are becoming pretty limited at this point. Maybe another 40-50 years if the current climate patterns continue?

  6. #6
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    The snowbirds (as annoying as they can be) have the right idea.... so I am gonna say neither.

  7. #7
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    mid afternoon yesterday was perfect,,

  8. #8
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    You don't have to shovel sunshine...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by longhairmike View Post
    mid afternoon yesterday was perfect,,
    Mid afternoon yesterday was HOT. I enjoy riding in 55-60 degree temps. Thats a lot to ask though. A cold front hit today and dropped temps to around 70 but the wind picked up to like 15mph. Frustrating

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ltk1144 View Post
    Thats true, I didnt consider that we can drive right up to flag or something. But I cant think of a place where it snows consistantly and you can drive right down to the desert.
    Sedona is 40 minutes away from Flagstaff and rideable 90% of the time in the winter,,,,,,

  11. #11
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    Here in AZ, all the way! For the summers, just get up earlier. I still manage to get 2-3 hour rides in on the weekends. Not a problem, you just get used to it. Pack plenty of water, and lather up with some sun block. All good.

    fer-get the snow!

  12. #12
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    +1 for Flag. Ski in the morning, drive 45 minutes to Sedona and bike in 70* temps on some of the best trails in the state

  13. #13
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    Another Flagster here, ride Sedona pretty much all winter and you simply can't beat the temps and trails up here in the summer.

    However, if I didn't have the option of driving 45 minutes to good trails for 6+ months of the year I would opt for the desert. Seems like Phoenix is rideable about 8 months of the year. After my recent SoMo trip a couple days ago, I have a newfound appreciation for the quality of trails down there.

  14. #14
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    I will take the snow any day over the 4.5 million angry people in the valley. 115 degrees sucks, and I dont care how early you get up, you still have to deal with miserable traffic, 1000 other trail users trying to ride the trails the same time you do and the heat. The riding is decent and houses are cheap, but it is still not worth it. I lived there for a year and personally I think you guys are nuts.
    Make Flagstaff RAD Again.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by GR1822 View Post
    You don't have to shovel sunshine...
    ^^^^
    Please donate to IMBA or your local IMBA chapter. It's trail karma.

  16. #16
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    To me, Phoenix is an extreme environment. Temps above 110, nights that do not cool off below 95, above 80 daytime highs most of the year. If you can ride there in the middle of summer, more power to you, but it's painfully hot and downright dangerous at times. To mitigate this, people often ride from 4am-10am, when it doesn't feel as hot due to the sun being below the horizon or low. That takes some dedication, and it kind of ruins any "sleeping in", but we all live to ride right? I don't knock people for doing that if they live there, I'd do it at least some of the time if I did. The air quality is also amongst the worst and people living there do have some medical issues due to this. That is not acceptable to me. Health needs to come first. I'm doing a long-shot interview in Anchorage next month, and it's the same thing, just in the other direction. People ride "fat bikes" up there all winter long on packed trails and snow. They often have heated grips and big gloves that go over/around the grip areas. That's what it takes in that environment, but again, it's an extreme. My point is that Phoenix is no more "year round" than anywhere else. People ride in the rain, snow, ice, heat, dust, etc. It's all about what it takes to do so. I'd rather experience some extreme cold rather than extreme heat (as evidenced by using A/C all the time in the summer ), but everyone is different. For me, about 60 degrees is perfect riding weather, given your body is making heat while you are riding. If it's 80 or more, I'm sweating a lot to keep cool. If it's 40 or less, I'm all layered up like crazy. In between isn't so bad, but when it's more than 90 the "fun factor" goes significantly down for me. In our mountains around/above Prescott we can usually avoid this by riding at the correct times, except for the absolute worst days, and Flagstaff is nearby for those days.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  17. #17
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    i could've moved anywhere in the country i wanted to last spring, but i intentionally chose the hottest metro area, and i have no complaints or regrets. i was admittedly disappointed that December was actually cold.
    summer just means more trails to myself, and less wasted energy yelling "passing" or "get out of my way you celine-dion-listenin'-haven't-given-us-anything-good-since-men-without-hats hosers"

    i dont even see myself driving 3 hours each way to flagstaff in summer, when i can just go to bed a little earlier and knock out a 3 hour ride by 8-9am


    phoenix looks a lot different on google today though...


    Photobucket

  18. #18
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    A few years ago I would have said move away. I have tired a few times but I always end up not moving or having to move back. I now think that I have grown to like what phoenix has to offer. I can go snowboarding during the winter with a short trip, during the summer there are plenty of lakes to have a good time on and there are plenty of places to get outdoors and out of the heat with only a short drive from here. Also you can rock climb outdoors year round here. Its a good place for anybody that likes extreme sports.

  19. #19
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    I will shovel 10 feet of snow before living in a place like phoenix. It's not just the heat. Its the millions of people, most of which drive like ***holes, the HORRID air quality, The complete lack of regard with which many recreate in the surrounding desert, and mile after mile of stupid strip malls with the same bull****.

    Phoenix is a culturally void hellhole. I don't don't care how much more money I could make down there or what the housing situation is like, its not worth it.

    Here in Flag, I am on great trails within a 5 minute ride from my front door. I can drive 45 minutes and be in Sedona in the winter. I dig my little mountain town, snow and cold and all.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuctionGoat View Post
    I will shovel 10 feet of snow before living in a place like phoenix. It's not just the heat. Its the millions of people, most of which drive like ***holes, the HORRID air quality, The complete lack of regard with which many recreate in the surrounding desert, and mile after mile of stupid strip malls with the same bull****.

    Phoenix is a culturally void hellhole. I don't don't care how much more money I could make down there or what the housing situation is like, its not worth it.

    Here in Flag, I am on great trails within a 5 minute ride from my front door. I can drive 45 minutes and be in Sedona in the winter. I dig my little mountain town, snow and cold and all.
    Could not have said it better myself.
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  21. #21
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    Phoenix heat all the way! I have no problem riding in 110+ degree weather, do it every year! The key is just to ride all year round and you will acclimate to the heat as it gets hotter. All I need is a good camelback, water, ice and a few fizz tabs and I am good to go!

    Just to qualify my statement further, I lived in Wisconsin for 6 years, did my time in snow, never again!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kduce View Post
    I can go snowboarding during the winter with a short trip,
    Hmm...good snowboarding? Hardly. Quite a few weekends where I thought about it, but decided not to based on how much the conditions were crappy. Poor conditions are more common here than many other places, due to the amount of sun (ICE!) it gets and lack of snow. The best thing I can say is that at least we HAVE winter sports. Otherwise, there are several issues that keep it from being all that good and more weekends than not, not really a good idea IMO.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  23. #23
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    I started this thread and ill finally add my opinion. I dont see phoenix as "all year riding" at all. Im pretty resistant to cold, and I feel more at home in it. I live in phoenix currently, however, but I see myself moving to flag later on. I love AZ but I dont like heat or big city feel of phoenix even though I do live all the way on the north end. A few weeks ago in March I went night riding shirtless and was all hot and sweaty at the end. I dont know anywhere else where you can do that, and personally, Im not a fan of it!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Hmm...good snowboarding? Hardly. Quite a few weekends where I thought about it, but decided not to based on how much the conditions were crappy. Poor conditions are more common here than many other places, due to the amount of sun (ICE!) it gets and lack of snow. The best thing I can say is that at least we HAVE winter sports. Otherwise, there are several issues that keep it from being all that good and more weekends than not, not really a good idea IMO.
    It's all about being there on the right days. I get in plenty of very good days even on poor snow years like this year. The ski touring can be unbelievable and because it's not a destination with consistent conditions there is virtually no one out in the backcountry. Let's face it, you don't live in Arizona for the skiing but it sure is nice that we have an option and it's a pretty good one when conditions are in. If you only get out on weekends with the Pheonix crowds and you don't tour I guess I can see where you are coming from but honestly Jayem if that's the case you're doing it all wrong.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Hmm...good snowboarding? Hardly. Quite a few weekends where I thought about it, but decided not to based on how much the conditions were crappy. Poor conditions are more common here than many other places, due to the amount of sun (ICE!) it gets and lack of snow. The best thing I can say is that at least we HAVE winter sports. Otherwise, there are several issues that keep it from being all that good and more weekends than not, not really a good idea IMO.
    RA, pretty sure we had fun in 30 inches of powder with no lift lines 18 minutes from my house a few weeks ago... Or am I just mistaken?
    Make Flagstaff RAD Again.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by sinatorj View Post
    RA, pretty sure we had fun in 30 inches of powder with no lift lines 18 minutes from my house a few weeks ago... Or am I just mistaken?
    Um, on ONE day right? I saw pictures of the lift-lines on Agasiz, 18 minutes?, honestly looked like a LOT more. That was one of the most insane lines I've ever seen. And how were conditions leading up to that? Oh, wait, don't answer, I know because I was there the week before Sorry, it's real cool that we have Snowbowl, don't get me wrong. I'd rather have that than not or nothing, but it's also what it is, and sketchy snow catching, super-crowded often (even on powder days), limited lift capacity/availability (often closed due to high winds), etc is what it is.

    Does flagstaff get some amazingly dry light powder?

    Yes.

    Is it fun on those days when the lift-lines aren't pandemonium (which does happen quite often with the limited lift capacity)?

    Yes.

    Does the snow quality drop off extremely fast due to the excessive sun and heating/freezing cycles?

    Yes.

    Does it compare with places in CO or pretty much any other significant place out West?

    No.

    Otherwise, pretty much every other place I've ever skied or snowboarded blows it out of the water. Well, except for Boreal, but that was in October of one year, haha.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  27. #27
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    After living in Colorado where everyone does a mad scramble to get in as many miles and rides before the 6 month long winter sets in I have to say that I prefer riding all year in Phoenix and sweating my ass off for 3 months. Phoenix is far from the perfect city but I live next to South Mountain, have a pool in my neighborhood, and a mortgage that costs only slightly more than my car payment. I can't complain.

  28. #28
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    I grew up in Gilbert and now live in Flagstaff. I have no desire to live in Phx ever again. Some good riding to be found but there is really nothing else about that place that does anything for me. Air, traffic, and hoards of people being the worse aspects imo.

    Flag is good but I think the town is over-hyped. I dunno, it just hasn't clicked for me I guess.

    Still like Prescott the best (five years there).

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I saw pictures of the lift-lines on Agasiz, 18 minutes?, honestly looked like a LOT more. That was one of the most insane lines I've ever seen.
    you might want to read his post again. the 18 minutes was his drive to the hill. that sunday there were no lift lines at all... the maze wasnt even set-up. the following day there were negligible lift lines until noon... then it started to get busy.

    check ra's utube video, posted on this forum, to see what it was like on sunday.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Does the snow quality drop off extremely fast due to the excessive sun and heating/freezing cycles?

    Yes.
    as previously mentioned... you are doing it wrong. amazing what aspect and trees can do for keeping it fluffy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Does it compare with places in CO or pretty much any other significant place out West?

    No.
    pretty sure that there werent any folks in this thread comparing snowbowl to any other resorts in the west... other than yourself.

    but trying to get back to the point of the op and tying into your rhetorical question posed above... are there any places in co (or ut, wy, id, mt, wa, or, ca or nv) that you can have a big pow day after a 20-30 minute drive to the lift from your driveway and the next day be at a trailhead in a matter of 30-40 minutes to rip tacky singletrack?

    a few im sure, but it is a very unique situation with flagstaff/sedona, regardless. which takes me back to the actual question in the op...

    no brainer for me. this sums it up nicely:

    Quote Originally Posted by SuctionGoat View Post
    I will shovel 10 feet of snow before living in a place like phoenix. It's not just the heat. Its the millions of people, most of which drive like ***holes, the HORRID air quality, The complete lack of regard with which many recreate in the surrounding desert, and mile after mile of stupid strip malls with the same bull****.

    Phoenix is a culturally void hellhole. I don't don't care how much more money I could make down there or what the housing situation is like, its not worth it.

    Here in Flag, I am on great trails within a 5 minute ride from my front door. I can drive 45 minutes and be in Sedona in the winter. I dig my little mountain town, snow and cold and all.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Hmm...good snowboarding? Hardly. Quite a few weekends where I thought about it, but decided not to based on how much the conditions were crappy. Poor conditions are more common here than many other places, due to the amount of sun (ICE!) it gets and lack of snow. The best thing I can say is that at least we HAVE winter sports. Otherwise, there are several issues that keep it from being all that good and more weekends than not, not really a good idea IMO.
    Yes the snowboarding in Arizona isn't that good but Bear Mountain in California is only a 6 1/2 hour drive. That's doable for a weekend trip.
    However, this winter I didn't even go to Bear because Sunrise had better conditions almost the whole season.

  31. #31
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    I'm following this thread with interest ...

    Northeast (as in U.S.) spectator here.

    What is the "horrid" air problem in Phoenix? Are we talking odor (animal waste, landfill), quality (ozone action days, smog, pollen), relative humidity (moisture content, aridity), or something else?

    What is the "anger" problem in Phoenix? I think several people alluded to it - one was in reference to driving habits (I think).

    I'm not trying to stir the pot - just trying to learn. Thanks.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by happy_ending View Post
    you might want to read his post again. the 18 minutes was his drive to the hill. that sunday there were no lift lines at all... the maze wasnt even set-up. the following day there were negligible lift lines until noon... then it started to get busy.
    I had a friend skiing that day that sent me a pic, it was way way long and crowded, it was the day they had "56 inches" of new snow(Sunday or Monday?). Insane lift line, but you know, I've been to snowbowl many times, and I know that the lines get insane and bad fast. There aren't enough resorts to ease the load, and definitely nowhere enough lifts to carry people when it does get crowded at Snowbowl. Sunset is just ridiculous in terms of distance and vertical, and the only decent lift gets way out of hand as far as lines in no time. That's my experience on a variety of days and conditions there.
    Last edited by Jayem; 04-03-2012 at 06:37 PM.
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by happy_ending View Post
    but trying to get back to the point of the op and tying into your rhetorical question posed above... are there any places in co (or ut, wy, id, mt, wa, or, ca or nv) that you can have a big pow day after a 20-30 minute drive to the lift from your driveway and the next day be at a trailhead in a matter of 30-40 minutes to rip tacky singletrack?
    Hmm, WA, OR, CA to name a few

    I lived 45 min from Kirkwood, a little closer to Sierra, but yeah, you could be doing both quite a bit. We were essentially out of the "snowline", so there was definitely riding to be had.

    I'm with you though, I'd rather shovel 10' of snow before living in Phoenix during the winters. I know riding is close to Flag. I'd rate the riding a lot higher than the snow-sports. Yes, I'm an elitist ex-ski-racer, but I mostly snowboard now.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by steiny View Post
    Northeast (as in U.S.) spectator here.

    What is the "horrid" air problem in Phoenix? Are we talking odor (animal waste, landfill), quality (ozone action days, smog, pollen), relative humidity (moisture content, aridity), or something else?

    What is the "anger" problem in Phoenix? I think several people alluded to it - one was in reference to driving habits (I think).

    I'm not trying to stir the pot - just trying to learn. Thanks.
    It's a combination of dust, ozone, and an inversion layer. The ground near the surface cools off at night faster than the atmosphere in the winter, this helps to "trap" all that stuff in the big valley. I've seen the brown/white cloud stretching from PHX to the colorado river on some days when flying. There are also respiratory problems due to fungus that gets kicked up and inhaled, a significant amount of people have trouble fighting off the infection, which is made worse by the air quality.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Hmm, so it gets busy. I had a friend skiing that day that sent me a pic, it was way way long and crowded.
    Not on that sunday. I 40 was closed as was the 17. Did not stand in line for more than a few min. You gotta pick and choose your days. Most people from out of town are scared of storms. Those are the best days to ride. The bowl is not a Colorado resort, but it is 7 miles from my house and I don't pay for tickets.
    Make Flagstaff RAD Again.

  36. #36
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    [QUOTE=steiny;9166004]Northeast (as in U.S.) spectator here.

    What is the "horrid" air problem in Phoenix? Are we talking odor (animal waste, landfill), quality (ozone action days, smog, pollen), relative humidity (moisture content, aridity), or something else?

    What is the "anger" problem in Phoenix? I think several people alluded to it - one was in reference to driving habits (I think).

    I'm not trying to stir the pot - just trying to learn. Thanks.[/QUOTE
    Go try to drive on the 202 at rush hour in august and you will know anger.
    Make Flagstaff RAD Again.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by sinatorj View Post
    Not on that sunday. I 40 was closed as was the 17. Did not stand in line for more than a few min. You gotta pick and choose your days. Most people from out of town are scared of storms. Those are the best days to ride. The bowl is not a Colorado resort, but it is 7 miles from my house and I don't pay for tickets.
    Yeah, that's when I've hit the "dumps" up there. Driving from Prescott when I-17 was closed. There were still some pretty long lines at times, but the snow quality was great, and it's what we have. Logistically it's not the easiest if you don't live there. I looked into it and there aren't that many shuttles and rides to get up there on the mountain from town if you go up the "night before" a big storm. Also have to be worried about it closing from capacity. Even on some of those big-dumps it was still pretty crowded with everyone in Flag out on the mountain.

    It makes Flagstaff infinitely better than any other Arizona town though
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Um, on ONE day right? I saw pictures of the lift-lines on Agasiz, 18 minutes?, honestly looked like a LOT more. That was one of the most insane lines I've ever seen. And how were conditions leading up to that? Oh, wait, don't answer, I know because I was there the week before Sorry, it's real cool that we have Snowbowl, don't get me wrong. I'd rather have that than not or nothing, but it's also what it is, and sketchy snow catching, super-crowded often (even on powder days), limited lift capacity/availability (often closed due to high winds), etc is what it is.

    Does flagstaff get some amazingly dry light powder?

    Yes.

    Is it fun on those days when the lift-lines aren't pandemonium (which does happen quite often with the limited lift capacity)?

    Yes.

    Does the snow quality drop off extremely fast due to the excessive sun and heating/freezing cycles?

    Yes.

    Does it compare with places in CO or pretty much any other significant place out West?

    No.

    Otherwise, pretty much every other place I've ever skied or snowboarded blows it out of the water. Well, except for Boreal, but that was in October of one year, haha.
    I think you are still doing it wrong.

  39. #39
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    I will take the valley. I grew up in Bend , Or. I adjusted my high school class load to try and ski/snowboard as much as possible. I got up to 130 days in 1994. But I hated having to wait for the single track to dry out. Once I got into moto it wasn't as bad but I will take the sunshine and ride all year now.

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    Forget snowboarding in AZ, it sucks. I've been sking for 38 years. While the terrain in Flagstaff rocks the lift lines are the worst anywhere. Sunrise in the White Mountains was set up for beginners with the lifts in all the wrong places, they must have thrown darts at the map.
    Strangely Mt Lemmon has the best skiing on a small slope with a very slow lift, bring a book.
    Usually I go to Wolf Creek, CO or Taos.
    Spend a summer in Phoenix before moving there. Here in hot Tucson everyone knows Phoenix is much worse in summer. The nights stay so hot there.
    agmtb

  41. #41
    kAZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by azpoolguy View Post
    I will take the valley. I grew up in Bend , Or. I adjusted my high school class load to try and ski/snowboard as much as possible. I got up to 130 days in 1994. But I hated having to wait for the single track to dry out. Once I got into moto it wasn't as bad but I will take the sunshine and ride all year now.
    I'm with you. I've lived in the Salt Lake area (annual pass at Solitude for 5 years), the LA beach area, central Texas, and here. I prefer to live here. I really dislike the cold. Even LA is too cold for my taste. Inversions in Utah are way way worse than anything I've seen here. I lived in LA in the mid-80s. I think the air is better there now, but back then it was way worse than here. I never notice the air to be bad here except on the odd bad brown cloud days, and that's just because you see it (and I rarely notice it that way either); never had any breathing issues personally. There were days in LA and inversion Salt Lake that it hurt to breathe the air was so bad.

    As for aggressive attitudes, I don't see the Valley as much different from anywhere. The crime statistics are little different from other large metro areas, better than many. LA was much worse, imo. I hated driving in LA. I commute 30 mins each way to work here, and it's really not much of an issue.

    My kids have gone to great schools. My cost of living and ability to earn a living has been great. I lost interest in skiing, so that's not a factor for me anymore. For me now, it's all about golf and riding, and for those activities the Valley is fantastic. My weekend plans almost never get scuttled due to weather here. The last few months my Sundays have been golfing 18 in the morning and riding 2-3 hours in the afternoon. I can ride Pass Mtn and Hawes from my house, and the Gold Canyon trails are a short drive. I have no issue getting up early to get a 3 hour ride in before 9am when it's hot, and I have no issue golfing regardless of the temps; to me, cold weather golf is more of a hassle than hot.

    I think the biggest drawback to the Valley is that the days that are the nicest are short and the hottest days are long. Those long summer days in Utah are fantastic, but there aren't that many of them, and 100 in Salt Lake is little different from 112 here. I'm happy and comfortable here. I reckon I'll be staying.

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