Reclaiming your Buffalo winter
Several ways to enjoy the winter instead of dreading it
Living in Buffalo in the winter often means limiting your outdoor time to walking to your car or treading through the snow to get to class.
Between November and March, the weather in Western New York is brutal and makes you question why you chose to attend UB. But if the snow and the negative temperatures haven’t made you too bitter, here are some ways to survive Mother Nature’s winter wrath.
Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing
Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing have become increasingly popular activities among restless Buffalo residents throughout the long winter months. The low cost of renting or buying snowshoes and skis make the activities easily accessible hobbies.
Tifft Nature Preserve, located at 1200 Fuhrmann Blvd. in Buffalo, offers snowshoeing for visitors of all ages. Admission to the grounds is free, and snowshoe rentals are $5 for adults and $3 for children up to 45 pounds, available at the Makowski Visitor Center. The Visitor Center is open Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m. Snow must be at least six inches deep to snowshoe.
Reinstein Woods in Depew also has a variety of trails perfect snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Located at 93 Honorine Drive, visitors can bring their own snowshoes or rent a pair for $5. Cross-country skis can also be rented for $5. Visitors can also go on a guided nature walk, held on Saturdays at 10 a.m. Reinstein Woods is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and 1 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Sledding and tobogganing
Chestnut Ridge Park, about a 30-minute drive from North Campus, is a wonderful place to hike and picnic in the summer. In the winter, the park offers opportunities for many fun outdoor activities.
Located at 6121 Chestnut Ridge Road in Orchard Park, visitors can cross-country ski, snowboard, sled, toboggan, hike and snowmobile. The sledding hill at the park is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and the toboggan chutes are operated from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends and holidays.
The Western New York area is full of hiking trails that are accessible during the winter months. If you’re up for the drive, then the Erie County Bureau of Forestry Park, located 40 minutes south of Buffalo, offers 3,400 acres of land to explore. The park’s variety of marked and unmarked trails makes it a great place to enjoy the outdoors.
For a closer getaway, Ellicott Creek Park is just 10 minutes from North Campus. Located at 1 Ellicott Creek Drive in Tonawanda, the park offers various hiking trails as well as cross-country skiing and sledding.
Believe it or not, you can do more on ice than slip and spill coffee all over yourself. In fact, some people can twirl and do flips. You don’t have to be Michelle Kwan, however, to enjoy a day on the ice.
Canalside is quickly becoming one of Buffalo’s most popular places for fun in the winter. The enormous ice rink – larger than the rink at Rockefeller Center in New York City – is a great place to ice skate outdoors. Visitors can also rent ice bikes for $15 for 30 minutes. Free skate at Canalside is 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5 and skate rentals are $3.
If you don’t have the $8 for admission and rentals at Canalside, then the ice rink at Martin Luther King Jr. Park is a free alternative. A splash pad during the summertime, during the winter visitors can work on their ice skating skills free of charge, including rentals. The ice rink, just east of Buffalo, is open weekdays from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on weekends from noon to 5:30 p.m.
If you’d rather not drive, then you can visit the temporary outdoor ice skating rink set up outside the Student Union on North Campus. The rink is free for UB students, faculty and staff, including free skate rental – just show your UB ID card. The rink is open from Wednesday through Friday from noon to 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.