Pros: Lots of beginner and intermediate terrain, big area and lots of longer runs and different types of terrain, good ticket and season pass prices
Cons: Staff not overly friendly, main lodge needs an update, slow lifts (except the one high speed quad)
This is my home resort so I admit, I'm biased. But, I have been skiing seriously at Sunrise since 2009. It's located in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona. The main towns in the area are Show Low, Pinetop, McNary and Springerville to the east. It's mostly a "locals" resort, but every weekend the weekend skiers and snowboarders come up from Phoenix and Tuscon.
The resort consists of 3 mountains, Sunrise, Apache and Cyclone. The main area is Sunrise and that is where the high speed quad lift is located. Apache peak can be accessed from this lift too. The runs on Sunrise are mostly beginner and intermediate with a few nice long runs from the top. Apache has some more beginner and intermediate runs and a mid base lift or you can ski down to Cyclone. Cyclone also has beginner and intermediate runs, but also has the most black diamond and double black diamond runs in the resort. Overall, there's a lot of terrain for everybody to ski on.
The mountain starts getting snow in mid December, sometimes earlier and usually stays open until the first part of April. Snow quality is obviously better during December and January and not so good in late March and April. Their grooming is hit and miss, but they do a decent job especially right after a big storm.
For years, this resort wasn't well run. The staff was very stand offish and not all that nice, the lifts weren't well maintained and there was a general malaise from management.
Recently that has changed. A couple years ago, the Apache tribe (who own the resort) brought in a new general manager. Since coming to the resort, he and management have made some good changes. Their runs are better maintained, they do a lot more snow making, signs have been updated and the lodges have gotten better as has the staff.
One HUGE thing they have done recently is upgrade their summer activities. Last year they got an airbag. It's mostly used for winter on the small terrain park, but they also bring it out during summer so people can jump into it. This year, they built a really nice zip line course. It consists of 6 separate zip lines from small to high and long. This is a MAJOR improvement and should make more money for winter operations (I hope).
As I said, I am biased because I live near the resort. But, anybody traveling in the area or even going to Phoenix who skis or snowboards should make an effort to come up to this resort. It's really fun and a very reasonable value.