Northeast Iowa is internationally famous for its fabulous cross-country skiing trails right across its beautiful state parks, lots of which also offer winter log cabin camping facilities. Why not enjoy a glorious winter weekend skiing through glorious scenery in the expanse of Iowa’s Great Outdoors then winding down with a mug of hot chocolate in front of a roaring log fire as the temperatures plummet and the snow swirls down outside? Skiing is the best excuse to plan your next winter getaway.
Details of all Iowa’s ski trails can be found here along with seasonal information and snow condition reports.
Nordic skiing is just about the greenest way to enjoy Iowa’s wilderness, too. There are no ski lifts to interrupt the views; no noisy snowmobiles to scare off the wildlife and no fume-belching vehicular traffic to shatter the silence. The skis and boots you need are lighter and more comfortable than for the downhill skiing variant and although it’s hard work and a great aerobic workout, it’s much safer and there are far fewer accidents. Iowa’s trails do include some lovely downhill sections to provide you with a moderate level of thrills and certainly make the uphill effort well worth it.
Who can do it?
Well, pretty much anyone. Iowa’s trails are family-friendly so that everyone from kids and the fit elderly can enjoy them. There are flatter trails for beginners and the less fit and more challenging ones to be tackled as fitness develops and basic skills are honed. The sport burns calories at up to 700 per hour and even a moderate session can be pretty energy-intense so it’s recommended that anyone with a heart condition should get the all-clear from a medical professional before taking to the trails.
What gear to take
Most of the ski centres in Iowa provide skis and boots for hire; check the website for each specific centre before you head off to make sure they have what you need. It’s best to wear snug-fitting layers of breathable fabrics to keep you comfortable and warm.
Iowa has wonderful countryside to enjoy all year round; it’s certainly a winter wonderland not to be missed and the best way to get the most out of the experience is to explore the wilderness on skis.
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