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Winter venues, events blanket Buffalo area in coming weeks

There’s plenty to love about winter in the region, including the following sites, events and organizations focused on family and wellness.



Larkinville Ice Festival: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. next Saturday, Jan. 25, in the square and nearby. Free family-friendly event includes outdoor activities, games, carriage rides and more. Parking is free. For more info, visit

[Photos: Look back at Smiles from last year's Larkinville Ice Festival]


November Project: Local chapter of national group devoted to a morning workout. All welcome to meet at 6 a.m. most Wednesdays on the back steps at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Lincoln Parkway at Iroquois Drive, for a mix of cardio and strength exercise. Visit for schedule updates and other info. Free for all.

Road race

Shamrock Run: 8K run, noon, March 7, Old First Ward Community Center, 62 Republic St. To register or for more info, visit $35 by Feb. 29; $40 after that.


Buffalo Nordic Ski Club: Those with skis can join this loosely knit club – for $15 as an individual, $30 as a family – and head out with fellow members on regular excursions in Western New York and beyond. Club President James Klein also hosts free learn to cross-country ski lessons for the public that start at 10 a.m. every snowy Sunday at the Rose Garden in Delaware Park. To sign up or learn more, visit The website also has a lengthy list of trail sites across the region.

Embrace winter with these ideas for fitness, family fun

Buffalo RiverWorks
359 Ganson St.,

Activities include curling at various pricing depending on day of the week and size of the group; open skating and open roller-skating for $5 per person; ice hockey games and practices for a cost per hour; zip line and indoor silo rock climbing by appointment. Those who show Independent Health member cards receive a discount on some activities.

Special events

Labatt Pond Hockey Tournament: Feb. 14-16. For costs, to register and more info, visit


A new igloo is now available for rental at the Ice at Canalside. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

44 Prime St.;

The ice surface – at 35,000 square feet – is about 2 1/2 times the size of an NHL rink and the largest outdoor single ice surface in the state.

Ice hours
Generally 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 1 to 10 p.m. Friday. $6 for ages 13 and over, $4 for those 6 to 12, free for children 5 and under. Seasonal passes available. BlueCross BlueShield of WNY members with a membership card get $1 off. $4 skate rentals; $5 during special holiday hours. Hours may vary depending on weather conditions; there will be special weekday hours at 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday and Feb. 15 to 22. Ice biking, bowling, bumper cars, igloos and other activities also are part of the fun.

Martin Luther King Jr. Park
Best Street at Fillmore Avenue;

Weather permitting, the rink is open noon to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. For updates, call the dedicated “Ice Line” at 838-1249, ext. 17. Skating is free.

Embrace winter with these ideas for fitness, family fun

Special events

Winter Blast: Noon to 2 p.m. Monday, Join Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy and BlueCross BlueShield of WNY for skating, snowshoeing, arts and crafts, face painting and more.

Rotary Rink at Fountain Plaza
20 Fountain Plaza;

Skate from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, 20 Fountain Plaza. If the temperature reaches 45 degrees or higher, call 854-7465 before you come downtown to skate.

Tifft Nature Preserve
1200 Fuhrmann Blvd.;

The 264-acre preserve along the Outer Harbor boasts 5 miles of trails through marsh and forest lands open from dawn to dusk daily. Discovery camps, bird walks and a Feb. 15 Starry Night Valentine’s Hike are among events this season.

• • •


Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve in Cheektowaga offers cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, with rentals, as well as special events during winter. (Sharon Cantillon/News file photo)

Road races

Penguin Waddle Family Fun Run: 5K to benefit Cradle Beach, 9 a.m. Jan. 26, Classics V Banquet Facility, 2425 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst. $40 for 5K; $10 for the waddle. Register under the Events tab at


Akron Falls and Como Lake county parks

These Erie County sites at 44 Parkview Drive, Akron, and 2220 Como Park Blvd., Lancaster, respectively, have outdoor ice rinks where visitors can skate free as weather allows. As with all Erie County parks, those with cross-country skis or snowshoes are welcome. Visit the Winter Activities tab at for daily sports and activities updates.

Byrncliff Resort and Conference Center

This summertime golf resort at 2357 Humphrey Road in Varysburg turns into a winter wonderland that includes 12 miles of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trail, as well as the Candyland Sledding Hill. There’s a special Surf’s Up cross-country ski race Feb. 15. For information on lodging and winter sports rates, visit

Old Fort Niagara

This historic fort at the northern end of the Robert Moses Parkway, near Youngstown, invites families to experience mid-18th century winter life with various activities. Admission is charged. Visit for more info. The park also includes land for cross-country skiers and snowshoers.

Reinstein Woods
93 Honorine Drive in Cheektowaga;

The nature preserve offers a large selection of snowshoes and limited number of cross-country skis for rent – at $5 and $8 respectively – from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday (closed MLK Jr. holiday) to Friday, 1 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and select Sundays.

Infant/toddler sleds also can be rented for $5. Call the education center at 683-5959 to check weather conditions. The center offers five interpretive trails, all shorter than a mile, and serves hot cocoa for $1 at the rental station. A rustic lodge allows for a warm-up.

[Read more: Walk through Reinstein Woods, "Buffalo's backyard wilderness"]

Special events

Learn to Cross-Country Ski: 10 a.m. Jan. 25, Feb. 15 and 20. Learn the basics of cross-country skiing before going on a guided ski tour.

Winter Wonderland in the Woods: Noon to 4 p.m. Feb. 8. Try snowshoes or cross-country skis for free. Make snow art, enjoy ice fishing demonstrations, winter crafts for kids.

Family Snowshoe Walk: 10 a.m. Feb. 22 and 29. Snowshoe walk along the trails and look for evidence of wildlife.

Reservoir and DeVeaux Woods state parks

These parks flank each other and the Robert Moses Parkway near the Niagara River Whirlpool Rapids in Niagara Falls and offer ice skating at their rustic rinks, weather permitting, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday to Thursday. Call 284-5778 for more information. Free. Skate rentals are unavailable.

• • •


Kissing Bridge in Glenwood is among the options for downhill skiing in the region. (Sharon Cantillon/News file photo)


Brewski: Noon to 3 p.m. Feb. 22, Knox Farm State Park, 434 Buffalo Road, East Aurora; 2.5-mile dog and family-friendly ski event with beer stations followed afterward by a free glass at 42 North Brewing Company. Register in advance for $25 at

Road races

Frozen Chosen 5K: To benefit Family Promise of WNY, 10 a.m. Feb. 8, St. John’s Lutheran Church, 4536 S. Buffalo St., Orchard Park. $25 before Jan. 25; $30 after that, including at 8:30 on-site race day. Register at

Skiing, snowboarding and sledding

Buffalo Ski Club

7414 State Road (Route 240), Colden

This club is the closest downhill operation to Buffalo. Its 43 trails cover three ski areas –  Sitzmarker Ski Club, Ski Tamarack and Buffalo Ski Club – on 300 acres. For information on membership and nonmembership programs, rates and trail conditions, visit

Chestnut Ridge County Park

6121 Chestnut Ridge Road, Orchard Park

Toboggan chutes and a new skiing and snowboarding section are open, weather permitting, from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends and holidays outside the casino. The ski tow is open 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekends and holidays. The sledding hill is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

As is the case with Erie County parks, those with cross-country skis or snowshoes are welcome to come on site. Visit for more info and updates.

Emery County Park

2084 Emery Road, South Wales

Hosts downhill skiing as weather allows from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends and holidays, and 4 to 8 p.m. weekdays. Visit for more info and updates.

Healthy Zone Rink

41 Riley St., East Aurora

Public skates on the chilled, covered ice surface run from 7 to 8:45 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 1 to 2:20 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It costs $5 to skate and $3 to rent skates; BlueCross BlueShield members receive $1 off by presenting their insurance card. For more info, including a calendar of events, visit The 4-acre site, a half block off Main Street in the village, includes locker rooms and a 5,000-square-foot, timber-framed warming lodge.

Holimont Ski Area

The 55 trails on 135 skiable acres are ready at 6921 Route 242 in Ellicottville, even if they have to make their own snow. For conditions, hours and rates, visit

Holiday Valley Ski Area

This resort at 6557 Holiday Valley Road, Ellicottville, features downhill and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and an opportunity to ride the Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster through part of its woodlots. For information on lodging, rates and discounts, visit

Kissing Bridge

The familiar resort at 10296 State Road in Glenwood – where many a Western New Yorker has learned to downhill ski – features 39 slopes on 700 acres. For information on rates and discounts, visit

Peek’n Peak Resort

This spot at 1405 Old Road in Clymer offers alpine and Nordic skiing and snow tubing during the winter months. For more info, visit

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