I was watching the Olympics with my five-year-old son Paxton the other day when he asked me why I groaned when an American figure skater fell. “The skaters who fall probably won’t win,” I explained.
Paxton peppered me with a million more questions before I finally made a comical discovery: He doesn’t understand that only a few, elite athletes are Olympians. In his young mind, anyone can flawlessly complete a double-twist-960-backward-corkscrew-triple-salchow-triple-toe-loop-thingy. “You can’t do that mom?” he asked. (Um, nooooooo.)
In reality, the rest of us can only dream of conquering the half-pipe or the moguls course. But there are plenty of places in Iowa where you can slap on your skis or skates and channel your inner-Olympian.
So when the games conclude, get off the couch and get outside. Who knows, with enough practice, maybe we’ll see you at the 2018 games in South Korea.
Sundown Mountain Ski and Snowboard Resort, Dubuque
Your parka’s going to come in handy as you whip down the slopes at Sundown Mountain, which features 85 acres and state-of –the-art snowmaking.
Brenton Skating Plaza, Des Moines
From November through March, this venue offers people of all ages the chance to ice skate in the open area, under the stars and the downtown skyline.
Gull Point State Park, West Okoboji Lake
Winter activities abound here. Ice skate, snowmobile or get in a good cross-country ski workout.
Mt. Crescent Ski Area, Honey Creek
Located in the Loess Hills, Mt. Crescent has a variety of slopes for everyone, from novice to the nothing-scares-me skier, snowboarder or tuber.
Silo Ice Climbing, Cedar Falls
It’s not every day you get to go silo ice climbing. But in Cedar Falls, they turn an 80-foot silo into an ice mountain for thrill-seekers.
Ambrose A. Call State Park, Algona
The heavily wooded Ambrose A. Call State Park is an idyllic location for two of your favorite winter sports – snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.
Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, Prairie City
The Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge is one of a few places in the country where you can snowshoe in a tallgrass prairie. Helpful hint: Borrow snowshoes there for free.
Seven Oaks Recreation, Boone
Seven Oaks Recreation is your one-stop winter shop, where you can ski, tube and snowboard to your heart’s content.
The Grotto Ice Rink, West Bend
The Grotto, frequently referred to as the “eighth wonder of the world,” provides a one-of-a-kind backdrop to this ice skating spot.
Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area, Palo
Traipse through 10 miles of spectacular trails at Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area, perfect for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
Shawna Lode | Iowa Tourism Office Manager