Mount Lemmon Ski Valley
is a recreational ski area in the U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...
, and the southernmost ski destination in the continental United States. Mount Lemmon Ski Valley is located on the slopes of Mount Lemmon
Mount Lemmon is in the Santa Catalina Mountains located in the Coronado National Forest north of Tucson, Arizona, United States. It is above sea-level, and receives approximately 180 inches of snow annually. Mount Lemmon was named in honor of botanist Sarah Lemmon, who trekked to the top of...
in the Santa Catalina Mountains
The Santa Catalina Mountains, commonly referred to as the Catalina Mountains, are located north, and northeast of Tucson, Arizona, United States, on Tucson's north perimeter. The mountain range is the most prominent in the Tucson area, with the highest average elevation...
just north of Tucson, Arizona
Tucson is a city in and the county seat of Pima County, Arizona, United States. The city is located 118 miles southeast of Phoenix and 60 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. The 2010 United States Census puts the city's population at 520,116 with a metropolitan area population at 1,020,200...
. It is part of the Coronado National Forest
The Coronado National Forest includes an area of about 1.78 million acres spread throughout mountain ranges in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico....
, located near the mountaintop village of Summerhaven
Summerhaven is a small Census-designated place on Mount Lemmon in the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson in Pima County, Arizona, United States. Summerhaven sits at an elevation of approximately 8,200 feet...
. The summit is 9157 feet (2,791.1 m) above sea level
Mean sea level is a measure of the average height of the ocean's surface ; used as a standard in reckoning land elevation...
, and receives approximately 180 inches (4.6 m) of snow annually.
Winter storms on Mount Lemmon are frequent, leaving untouched powder areas. The ski season on Mount Lemmon usually occurs between mid-December and April. The weather is usually mild enough to ski in a sweater and wrangler jeans, with temperatures ranging from 20 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit
Fahrenheit is the temperature scale proposed in 1724 by, and named after, the German physicist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit . Within this scale, the freezing of water into ice is defined at 32 degrees, while the boiling point of water is defined to be 212 degrees...
. There is no grooming at Mount Lemmon, which makes even the mild terrain challenging. Ski Valley is accessible via the Catalina Highway
The Catalina Highway, officially the General Hitchcock Highway, is the popular name for a Forest Highway and scenic route located in Pima County in southern Arizona...
. Parking is limited at the ski area. The ski area is regularly closed some weekdays even when they have snow, but the specific days of closure vary. The highway is frequently closed for a day or so following substantial snowfalls until plows can clear the road. Restrictions limiting travel to vehicles with chains or four-wheel-drive above certain elevations may also be in effect during these times.
The "back" road to Mount Lemmon from the town of Oracle, Arizona
- Geology :Oracle and the surrounding area sit largely on a slab of granite called "Oracle granite" that is visible as red or grey-and-white speckled "boulders" rising over the scrub and grass. It is mostly porphyritic biotite Precambrian granite with large microcline phenocrysts, and has...
is dirt and is closed from December through March, and so provides no access during the ski season.
The ski lift runs year round, as a "Sky Ride" experience in the summertime, offering impressive views of the Ski Valley area, forest and grass-covered slopes, and the long distance vistas of the mountains and valleys in the distance north of the Santa Catalinas.
- Base: 8200 feet (2,499.4 m)
- Summit: 9150 feet (2,788.9 m)
- Vertical drop: 950' (estimated) feet (3rd highest in Arizona)
- Skiable area: 200 acre (0.809372 km²)
- 22 trails
- novice - 20%
- intermediate - 38%
- advanced and expert - 42%
- Longest trail - 8500 feet (2,590.8 m)
- 3 Total
- 2 Double Chairs
- 1 Surface Lifts
- Uphill Capacity - 2,000 skiers per hour
- Annual snowfall- Around 180 inches (4.6 m)