Arizona's Winter Wonderland

By: Arizona Office of Tourism

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November 25, 2016

Play in a town blanketed by snow – Flagstaff.

About the author

Arizona Office of Tourism

These articles are brought to you by staff of the Arizona Office of Tourism, as well as local tourism organizations around the state.

An Arizona location might not be the first guess for one of the snowiest cities in the country, but Flagstaff, Arizona, ranks at the top nationally for annual snowfall. With an average of 108 inches of snowfall each year, the city earns the honor of being Arizona’s Official Winter Wonderland. Ironically, Flagstaff also ranks toward the top of the list among the sunniest cities year-round. In Flagstaff, visitors can get a winter fix, and enjoy all the hallmarks of the season, while counting on mostly sunny blue-sky days.

Snow Play in Flagstaff

During the winter season, skiing, sledding and snow play are often the best daytime activities in Flagstaff. For the thrill of shredding powder, alpine skiing and snowboarding can be enjoyed at Arizona Snowbowl. New for the 2016–2017 winter season, the Grand Canyon Express, Arizona’s first high-speed, six-person chairlift, will whisk guests up the mountain in just six minutes.

Snowshoeing, snow-bike riding and cross-country skiing adventures are plentiful at the Flagstaff Nordic Village, where a trail pass provides access to 25 miles of groomed trails. For the adventurous, yurt and cabin rentals are also available at the Nordic Village along the trail system. Both Arizona Snowbowl and Flagstaff Nordic Center offer on-site ski rentals, and there are several shops in downtown Flagstaff to rent or purchase gear.

For those who simply want to play in the snow or build a snowman, Flagstaff offers many designated snow play areas including Wing Mountain, Crowley Pit and the new Flagstaff Snow Park at Fort Tuthill County Park. Another classic winter option is Flagstaff’s Hitchin’ Post Stables for a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the snowy woods and a visit to Cowboy Camp for hot chocolate or a steak-dinner cookout.

Food and Drink in Flagstaff

After your snow play, options abound in historic downtown Flagstaff. Be sure to ask for a table near the window to keep your gaze on the wintry scene outside when dining at any of Flagstaff’s bistros, cafés or gastropubs. Try a new restaurant in town, including Shift Kitchen + Bar, Root Public House, La Santisima Gourmet Taco Shop, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, The Marquee Vintage Lounge in The Oakmont and The Silver Pine at Little America Hotel.

Spend some time on the Flagstaff Ale Trail tasting seasonal beers from the city’s seven craft breweries: Beaver Street Brewery, Lumberyard Brewing Company, Flagstaff Brewing Company, Wanderlust Brewing Company, Mother Road Brewing Company, Historic Brewing Company and Dark Sky Brewing Company.

Attractions in Flagstaff

Cap off the evening with a visit to Lowell Observatory, and search the dark night sky for constellations only visible in winter. For those with energy to spare, consider a drive to The Museum Club on historic Route 66 to line dance the night away.

Winter can be one of the most serene times of year at Grand Canyon National Park, and a daytrip into the park from Flagstaff is only an hour and a half drive away. Use Flagstaff as a home base, and explore the majestic canyon scenery without the crowds. Or, head out to one of the seven national parks and monuments located within a three-hour drive.

Visit flagstaffarizona.org for a full calendar of winter events and to download a winter snow play map.

(Brought to you by the Flagstaff Convention & Visitors Bureau, (800) 842-7293, www.flagstaffarizona.org.)

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