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Arizona Travels

Snowboarding in the desert

A deceiving headline, I know, but essential in conveying what I felt when I first moved to Arizona. I was certain that this state was just that, a desert.

Two hours north of the cacti and dust, at a summit elevation of 11,500 feet, there is the Arizona Snowbowl. First, I came skiing a few years ago before I realized that entailed too many moving parts. My friend Joey will still remember the first time I went on the lift and ceremoniously dropped one of my poles in a panic  as I tried to hold on to the seat.


I decided that a snowboard was more my thing, it being just one item. The first time I went to Snowbowl, I wondered whether Panamanians should really be sliding down icy mountains, because it just didn’t seem right as I quickly glided, out of control, toward some trees.

But I persevered and took some honest classes instead of just having friends act as teachers. In fact, the cost of the class — including lift ticket and equipment — is the same as renting and lift ticket. So if you’re a beginner or intermediate with no equipment, it’s definitely worth taking a class.

Although I cannot compare Snowbowl to other skiing meccas like Vale or Aspen, it’s beautiful, not too crowded and a relatively short drive from warm, dry weather. The Central American in me can’t ask for anything more. Well, I guess I could ask for a coast and an ocean.

3 replies on “Snowboarding in the desert”

Phoenix is about 4 hours from Puerto Peñasco, Mexico. But it can take longer to get there and come back because of border control.

Your closest beach is in Mexico?!? Wow…I don’t know that I could do that…not that I go to the beach ALL the time here but it is definitely a super nice perk to know you can be there in 40 mins.

I think the Panamanian in me just shivered a little at the thought of being that far away from the ocean.

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