It truly is the most wonderful time of the year here in Arizona.

The weather is so fabulous that people flock to our state from all over the country, and even Canada, just to soak up our glorious sunshine.

For Valley natives who are sick of the warm, clear days and want that snow and cold, Arizona’s got that too!

That’s what is so awesome about our state. The different microclimates make Arizona one of the most interesting places in the world for weather conditions.

While snow in Phoenix is rare, we often do see our surrounding mountains capped in the winter in white, which means you don’t have to go far to get your fix.

As a Valley native, I remember my parents taking my brothers and me up to the high country to play in the snow. It was always such a big deal for us. Every year, we got new long-johns, coats, gloves, hats and all the winter gear that kids need since we had already outgrown what we had only worn once or twice the year before.

As we drove north on the highway, our faces lit up with excitement at the first sight of patchy snow on the ground. We begged our parents to stop right then and there so we could play in it. But they had something better in mind — a place with so much snow you could actually build a snowman, not just make a few snowballs!

After what seemed like an eternity, we finally arrived at an open field blanketed in fresh, white snow. It was the “Winter Wonderland” we sang about, far better than the dirty black, and sometimes yellow snow we saw patched on the side of the road earlier.

We played so hard and so long that we passed out in the car as soon as my dad started it up to head home (as a parent, I now know that’s the goal).

These memories are so precious. I know many of you are able to tell the same stories from your childhood and are now looking to make those memories with your kids, too.

There are lots of places to choose from around our gorgeous state, but here are just a few of the best snow play areas you’ll find:

• Wing Mountain. From Interstate 40, follow Highway 180 north 2.8 miles past Snowbowl Road to mile marker 226 (approximate), turn left onto Forest Service Road 222B. There is a small fee of $12 per vehicle. For more information, visit

• Crowley Pit. From Flagstaff, head 10 miles northwest on Highway 180, turn left at the parking sign (mile post 233).

• Oak Hill. Located about 10 miles east of Williams on Historic Route 66.

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