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Located on acres of aspen and ponderosa pine forests of the Coconino National Forest, the Arizona Nordic Village is one of my favorite places to go cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the entire state. Just north of downtown Flagstaff, Arizona, Arizona Nordic Village maintains over 30 miles of trails and provides gear rentals and the coolest yurts in the entire state. Arizona Nordic Village is a spot that I personally can’t get enough of during the winter season.
In this post, I’ll outline the basics of what you need to know about the Arizona Nordic Village: from amenities to prices and everything in-between. In addition, I’ll provide an unbiased review based on my personal visits to the nordic center.
For those traveling to northern Arizona and/or Flagstaff, I hope this post will provide you with a detailed breakdown of why you need to add Arizona Nordic Village to your list of places to visit:
What’s Arizona Nordic Village all about?
Arizona Nordic Village offers a range of outdoor activities throughout the year. Their claim-to-fame over the years has been their network of cross country skiing and snowshoeing trails, as well as their amazing yurts and cabins.
In general, here are the activities and features that are available at Arizona Nordic Village throughout the winter season:
- Cross country skiing
- Private and group cross country skiing lessons
- Overnight lodging in yurts and cabins
- Meeting areas
- Movie nights and bonfires on the weekends
As mentioned before, Arizona Nordic Village is known for its cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and yurts. That being said, during the non-winter time, the place opens up with great hiking and biking opportunities through the dense pine and aspen forests of the Coconino National Forest.
During this time, they also offer their property as a wedding venue. It is important to remember that year-round, their trail system is closed to all motorized vehicles.
What we love about Arizona Nordic Village
As a regular visitor to their trails (I live most of the year in Flagstaff), I personally love Arizona Nordic Village for the following reasons:
#1 Arizona Nordic Village’s proximity to downtown Flagstaff
For me, having a variety of winter activities available within a few minutes of downtown Flagstaff is a huge draw. On a whelm, I can decide on some random Saturday to go cross country skiing or snowshoeing if I’m looking for a Microadventure or something to do around the Flagstaff area. I feel like that’s a common feeling for lots of Flagstaff and northern Arizona residents.
It is worth noting that there are other cross country skiing facilities and nordic centers in Arizona but Arizona Nordic Village is the only nordic center that regularly grooms their trails every day with weather permitting.
#2 It’s a great place to try out cross country skiing or snowshoeing
Something that surprised me when writing this post is that according to the team at Arizona Nordic Village, many visitors, Flagstaff locals, and out-of-towners, make their way to the trails to try out cross country skiing or snowshoeing for their first time.
In addition, many newbies are so worried about perfecting their techniques, they aren’t concerned about where they are going! Fortunately, with clearly marked, groomed, and maintained trails available throughout, getting lost or turned around is not something to worry about.
Worry about not stepping on your skis or ripping your pant leg with the snowshoe’s teeth.
Plus there are numerous maps hanging from trees adjacent to trails in case you do get turned around!
#3 Very helpful staff and lessons
The experienced staff is amazing! I’ve personally had them provide me with insights on ski techniques (since my skills are lacking), trail recommendations, and just plain conversations about Flagstaff, skiing, and everything in-between.
Especially during winter, the staff are returning veterans from previous seasons and are a wealth of knowledge and advice on both winter sports as well as what to see and do in Flagstaff and the surrounding areas Après ski.
#4 Affordable rates and rentals
Rentals are very affordable making Arizona Nordic Village a great outlet for those looking to dip their toes in the water before making a large gear purchase of skis or snowshoes. A cross country ski kit can run you $150-500+ and a good pair of snowshoes can run $150+. Being able to try out gear on the trails of Arizona Nordic Village is a major plus!
Prices for passes and rentals are listed in the following section but there are some amazing deals during the weekend including $5 trail passes and $5 rentals from 4-7 pm, Friday and Saturday.
Also on Friday and Saturday evenings, the crew hosts a bonfire with free s’mores and a movie.
#5 Kickass yurts and cabins
Prior to staying at a yurt during a summer visit to Arizona Nordic Village, I had never stayed in a yurt before. What surprised me was how cozy and homely camping overnight in a yurt was! Since then, I have stayed in a yurt during the winter…yes they are way warmer than you think they would be.
There are both front-country yurts, cabins, and backcountry units available for rent. The big difference between the front-country yurts and cabins compared to the backcountry yurts is you can drive up to the front-country yurts and cabins; they are located right next to the parking lot. The backcountry yurts require you to cross country ski or snowshoe to get to your chosen yurt.
For me, I was stoked staying in a backcountry yurt. There’s something about needing to snowshoe to a yurt in the middle of the woods…it brought out the inner Thoreau in me. Not to mention the peace and quiet that you’ll experience staying in a backcountry yurt.
Staying in a backcountry yurt: it’ll be just you, your loved ones, the crackle of the fire, and the occasional deer passerby.
Prices at Arizona Nordic Village
While prices are subject to change year-to-year, these were the prices during my last visit:
Cross country skiing passes and rentals
- Weekend full-day passes and rentals: $20/person
- Weekend 1/2 day passes and rentals: $15/person
- Weekday full-day passes and rentals: $10/person
- Weekday 1/2 day passes and rentals: $7.50/person
- Holiday full-day passes and rentals: $20/person
- Passes for children under 7 are free
Snowshoeing passes and rentals
- Weekend full-day passes and rentals: $10/person
- Weekend 1/2 day passes and rentals: $7/person
- Weekday full-day passes and rentals: $5/person
- Weekday 1/2 day passes and rentals: $5/person
- Holiday full-day passes and rentals: $10/person
- Passes for children under 7 are free
Snow play passes
- $20 per vehicle
- It is very important to remember that Arizona Nordic Village does not offer sledding of any kind. They do offer a flat snowplay lot that is perfect for building snowmen or having snowball fights with the family. This area is open during normal business hours with weather permitting.
Cross country skiing group and individual lessons
- Group ski lessons with rentals: $60/group
- Group ski lessons without rentals: $30/group
- Private ski lessons without rentals: $60/each
- Family ski lessons with rentals: $140/group of 3 family members – additional members are $20/each
Deals at Arizona Nordic Village
- Fridays and Saturdays: $5 passes and $5 rentals from 4-7 pm
- Fridays and Saturdays: bonfire with free s’mores and a movie in the “Discovery Yurt”
In addition, Arizona Nordic Village offers great deals on cabin and yurt rentals. Besides being an amazing way to spend a winter or holiday weekend, if you stay in a cabin or yurt, you’re able to ski or snowshoe past closing time and before the center opens in the morning.
Staying in a cabin or yurt is a great bang-for-your-buck and a great Microadventure to have during your visit to Flagstaff.
For the pricing of the cabins or yurts, please refer to Arizona Nordic Village’s website for current rates, availability, and deals.
Prices fluctuate throughout the year based on the season so I didn’t feel it was wise to post them here.
For 1-hour long visits at Arizona Nordic Village
If you only have a little time to visit Arizona Nordic Village, it might not be worth it to rent cross country skis or snowshoes– there simply isn’t enough time to experience the miles of groomed trails and scenic views.
That being said, if you’re on a time crunch but still want to visit, bring a lunch and grab a coffee or hot chocolate from the main lodge and utilize the spacious outdoor decks and picnic tables. The main lodge sits on the edge of the Coconino National Forest and offers stunning views of towering Humphrey’s Peak and the ponderosa pines.
For afternoon visits at Arizona Nordic Village
Now we’re talking!
If you have a whole afternoon available (like when I visit), you can take advantage of half-day rental rates. Once you’ve got your cross country skis or snowshoes, hit the trails just outside of the main lodge. You might not be able to do some of the biggest loops that circle the perimeter but you’ll be able to enjoy the more immediate trails closest to the lodge nonetheless.
For those completely unfamiliar with either sport, take advantage of private or group lessons. The lessons usually last an hour and then you’re free to spend the rest of the afternoon practicing your techniques on some of the easier loops.
No matter how you spend your afternoon at Arizona Nordic Village, make sure you take advantage of their half-day pricing that starts at 12:30.
For whole weekend stays at Arizona Nordic Village
For those who have more than just an afternoon to spend, there are endless ways to explore Arizona Nordic Village. I recommend booking a backcountry yurt (like I usually do) so you can enjoy the peace and quiet of a yurt in the woods and have full access to all of the backcountry trails. Since these trails are harder to get to from the main lodge, you’ll be able to take advantage of these trails where most cross country skiers and snowshoers won’t ever venture to.
In addition, you’ll receive discounted rentals and passes as well as being able to explore the trails before and after Arizona Nordic Village closes to the public.
Our favorite trails at Arizona Nordic Village
While there are lots of trails throughout Arizona Nordic Village, here are a few of my personal favorite trails along with their distances, what you’ll see along the way, and the estimated time to complete:
- Babbitt: a great loop with views of the mountains; 4.5 miles; 2-3 hours
- Tornado: trail amongst an aspen forest; 2 miles; 1-2 hours
- Volcano: a great snowshoe trail for beginners with pleasant ups and downs through the forest; 2 miles; 1-2 hours
- Dog tail: the most popular dog-friendly ski trail with rolling hills close to the lodge; 1-2.5 miles; 1-2 hours
- Deer: a steeper trek through the forest that passes by several yurts; 1 mile; 1 hour
Other things to know and consider before your visit
A few things worth knowing before you take a trip and visit Arizona Nordic Village for your next Microadventure:
- Sledding of any kind is not allowed in Arizona Nordic Village
- The snow play areas are used for building snowmen, snowball fights, and general playing in Flagstaff’s snow
- Don’t walk or snowshoe on any of the cut cross country skiing trails
- The snowshoe trail system is separate from the ski trail system; skiers can go on snowshoe trails but snowshoers can’t go on ski trails!
- Gear is required on the trails at all times so don’t remove your skis or snowshoes and start walking!
- Dogs are allowed! For cross country skiers, you can utilize the “Dog Trail,” for snowshoers, you can bring dogs on any of the designated snowshoe trails. Dogs are allowed in all of the yurts and cabins with an additional $10 fee per pooch.
The Arizona Nordic Village is one of my personal favorite places to go cross country skiing and snowshoeing in Flagstaff as well as Arizona. The number of trails available, affordable rentals and passes, helpful staff, and kickass yurts and cabins are the best aspects while you spend time in the forested acres of the Coconino National Forest.
What’s your favorite part of Arizona Nordic Village? Comment below or tweet us!
Nick is the owner and regular content writer for Southwest Microadventures. When he’s not writing, you can find him rock climbing, peak bagging, mountain biking, backpacking, or drinking strong coffee.