Flagstaff may be best-known for the annual metal pinecone drop on New Year’s Eve, but there’s also plenty to do here in wintertime!
Northern Arizona experienced its third snowiest January since record keeping started back in 1898.
1. 6 inches at the airport
This winter is shaping up to be one of the snowiest in Flagstaff history, according to data compiled by the National Weather Service since 1898 when records began being kept. So far, it ranks fifth-snowiest meteorological winter.
2022-23 appears poised to break the record set in March 2010 by more than two days; that would be an incredible achievement, particularly for a community used to experiencing very dry winters.
Snowfall is expected to continue into this weekend and early next week, and Arizona Department of Transportation has listed over 12 highways which have been shut due to adverse conditions.
Winter storms can hit Flagstaff at any point between November and March. On average, Flagstaff typically sees at least an inch of snow daily; however, major blizzards that deposit 10 or more inches only happen around six times annually – typically arriving either as early as October or as late as December with its last snowfall expected sometime around April.
2. 3 inches at Flagstaff Airport
Flagstaff is one of the snowiest cities in America and provides exceptional skiing opportunities. Boasting annual snowfall of more than 100 inches, Flagstaff features world-class resorts and cross-country skiing venues for recreational skiing enthusiasts to explore.
According to National Weather Service records, this winter has already become one of the snowiest ever seen in Flagstaff – accounting for over twice the usual snowfall amount over 2022-23 season.
Due to snowfall in Flagstaff and surrounding communities, schools have closed across the region and Northern Arizona University has cancelled classes, while Flagstaff City Hall has restricted non-essential business activities.
Along with snowfall, a strong west wind is also blowing snow into the city from its western direction, according to National Weather Service forecasts for Saturday morning.
Flagstaff typically sees an annual snowfall average of 113 inches, beginning in October or December with the last snowfall typically taking place by April. Amounts of snowfall vary greatly between years – heavy years might experience over 27 inches by December while lighter years typically receive only nine.
3. 4 inches at Flagstaff Pulliam Airport
Flagstaff National Weather Service’s Bellemont Office has seen 146.7 inches since July, breaking their previous record of 115.4 inches established during 2009-2010 period and only surpassing it by 153.9 inches set back in 1948-49 period.
On Wednesday night, an unusual winter storm dumped heaps of snow across Flagstaff and the high country and even shut down major highways, creating dangerous driving conditions and leading to several collisions on one of Arizona’s major routes.
Flagstaff, Arizona is renowned as one of the snowiest cities in America. Situated near the San Francisco Peaks in the foothills, Flagstaff usually experiences snowfall from October until April; major snowstorms of ten inches or more usually hit only twice or three times annually.
4. 5 inches at Flagstaff Ski Bowl
Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort is one of the oldest ski areas in Arizona, situated on the western slopes of Humphreys Peak and offering some of the highest ski elevations in the region, from 11,500ft in base elevation up to almost 12,600ft for top elevation. Popular among skiers and snowboarders who appreciate thin air of San Francisco Peaks.
Arizona Ski Bowl’s average snowfall annually averages 204 inches; however, snowfall amounts can range widely depending on the year and can often surpass this figure. When snowfall exceeds average levels, upper mountain is often an attractive destination, while its trees often provide some of the finest tree skiing available anywhere.
Skibowl’s gondola and tubing can be enjoyed from mid-December to mid-April, depending on snowfall levels. To reach it from Flagstaff, take I-17 north through town then Milton Road three miles; after passing stoplight turn left onto Snowbowl Rd for seven miles until reaching resort.
5. 6 inches at Arizona Ski Bowl
If you plan on skiing Arizona Snowbowl, make sure you consult its snow report beforehand. A snow report provides a snapshot of piste and off-piste conditions; piste conditions can quickly deteriorate after sunny weekends with many skiers out and about; off-piste snow can also change rapidly due to windy or shaded environments.
On the northern slope of San Francisco Peaks lies this resort with an elevation of 11,500 feet – one of the highest summit elevations in the United States. State-of-the-art snowmaking facilities ensure an extended season from November through April on its 777 acres and eight lifts.
Flagstaff Resort is just a short drive from Downtown Flagstaff, an idyllic mountain town filled with delicious brewery pubs and college bars. If you don’t have access to transportation, hitchhiking to the slopes remains popular and active here; just be polite when asking for rides, tip your driver properly (it helps ensure hitchhiking remains viable in Flagstaff!), and remember to thank them at the end of your ride – you may just earn some good karma or even receive free transport down!