Winter Activities in Flagstaff, AZ
The first place to start for serious winter snow play is Snowbowl. They’ve got 32 trails, a terrain park and over two thousand feet of vertical drop serviced by four lifts for skiers and boarders of all ability levels. Snowbowl also has the Little Spruce Conveyor for beginners. If you don’t know how to ski or snowboard – the whole family can take private or group lessons on site. Before you go – add their trail map to your Garmin for the ultimate interactive trail guide. The Snowbowl’s Ski Lift Lodge and Cabins, located at the base of the resort right on Highway 180, often offers really great weekend packages that include free lift tickets and budget room rates. Plus, they’ve got some of the best wings in town at their restaurant.
Buffalo Park is minutes from downtown (and close to the Jay Lively Activity Center). It offers a quick getaway to gorgeous mountain scenery. The 215 acre park has a two mile loop trail perfect for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Because it is a city park, no sledding is allowed here, as is the case in all Flagstaff city-run parks. Buffalo Park is connected to the Flagstaff Urban Trail System (FUTS) and National Forest trails for even more outdoors enjoyment. The park has a big parking lot, portable restrooms and a ramada where you can organize your gear or eat a snack before getting back in your car. It’s open from dusk until dawn.
At 8000 feet above sea level, about a mile past the Flagstaff Nordic Center is the Crowley Pit snow play area. This almost secret spot isn't marked with anything besides a "parking" sign so keep your eyes peeled as you head up Highway 180. Here you can get in some Nordic skiing and snowshoeing, but none of the trails are managed or groomed. There's also a little spot to get in some sledding with the kiddos. The county does plow the road that leads to the parking area here. But if it is full, don't park along the highway. Instead head to another area as parking along the highway is against the law.
If you’re in Flagstaff on one of the rare non-sunny days (its sunny here 288 days per year on average) and don’t feel like being out in the cold, you’ll find delight at the Flagstaff Aquaplex. The new facility offers an indoor lap pool, indoor water park, water slides, a “lazy river” area, indoor rock climbing, basketball gym, indoor track, weights and exercise machines. Because it is run by the city, it’s open to the public for reasonable daily rates and no membership fees. The daily rate (with re-entry so you can come back and enjoy more after grabbing a bite) is $3 for children, $5 for youth, $7 for adults and $5 for folks 55 and over. Or you can buy a household pass for $25 for the day.
The Flagstaff Nordic Center is the place to go for cross-country skiing in Arizona. The FNC has 25 miles of groomed Nordic ski trails plus 10 miles of groomed snowshoeing trails. There are also areas for sledding and snowplay nearby. Even if you don’t know how to cross-country ski, the FNC has lessons for adults and children. You can also rent skis, snowshoes and other equipment – even a sled for pulling toddlers along as you ski - as well as offering waxing and tuning services. You’ll find a live webcam and updated trail conditions on their website: flagstaffnordiccenter.com. Trail passes for kids under 7 are free. Passes for adults, seniors and students are available for half or full day. Prices vary weekend versus weekday. Check their website for details. Folks with the FNC are great about responding to questions on their Facebook if you’d prefer that to calling. The FNC opens from 9am to 4pm daily.