Iowa’s Top 5 Destinations for Skiing, Snow Tubing, & Winter Fun
The winter wonderland of Iowa has officially begun, and so we delve into the exhilarating world of skiing and snow tubing in the Hawkeye State. While Iowa may not boast the towering peaks found in traditional ski destinations, its rolling hills and dedicated winter sports areas provide unique and enjoyable experiences for all skill levels. From family-friendly slopes for snow tubing to expert-level ski runs, join me as we explore the hidden gems of Iowa's winter sports scene.
Established in 1973, Sundown Mountain Resort in Dubuque stands as a picturesque winter paradise, and my favorite place to hang out with owner/operator Mark Gordon. Nestled in a century-old cedar forest reminiscent of stunning Colorado. Boasting 21 trails with a focus on intermediate ability, two terrain parks, and six lifts, including two conveyor carpets, the resort offers a wide range of skiing experiences. The carefully groomed terrain spans 85 acres and includes a total vertical drop of 475 feet, ensuring an exhilarating adventure for skiers and snowboarders of all levels.
Recognized with the prestigious NSAA Award of Excellence, Sundown Mountain Resort sets itself apart as an award-winning ski destination in the Midwest. State-of-the-art snowmaking, featuring 150 snow guns, ensures optimal snow conditions are available each day. Even better they extend their patron's skiing pleasure into the night with fully lit slopes. The resort provides access from morning to evening, with exclusive early access for passholders during the Weekend Golden Hour. Sundown Mountain Resort stands as a beacon of snowy fun, creating generations of cherished winter memories. It's worth noting in this article that tubing is not available at Sundown Mountain. Additionally, the food and drinks at the lodges are as exceptional as the skiing.
Seven Oaks Recreation in Boone, Iowa, is a year-round haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a thrilling array of activities amidst 160 acres of adventure. In winter, the facility boasts a 275-foot vertical drop with 11 runs catering to all skill levels. From skiing and snowboarding to the excitement of snow tubing in the 4-chute park, there's winter fun for everyone. The comprehensive snowmaking coverage ensures a consistent snowy landscape, complemented by four lifts, including two triple chairlifts and two surface lifts, making the journey to the top a breeze.
The family-owned and operated establishment extends its offerings beyond winter, featuring activities like canoeing, kayaking, river tubing, and paintball in the warmer months. Seven Oaks is not just a recreation area; it's a versatile venue available for events year-round, with lodging packages from properties in Boone and Ames. With FREE ski and snowboard lessons, group rates, and nightly discounts, Seven Oaks invites all ages to experience the joy of outdoor recreation in central Iowa.
About15 miles northeast of Omaha, Nebraska, Mt. Crescent Ski Resort stands as a winter paradise in the rugged terrain of Iowa's Loess Hills. Established over 60 years ago with the assistance of Olympian gold medalist skier Stein Eriksen, this resort beckons to both novice and seasoned skiers. Boasting a 300-foot vertical drop, 10 trails, and a snow-covered expanse of 50 acres, Mt. Crescent promises a thrilling experience.
The ski runs, extending up to 2,400 feet (equivalent to 7 football fields), cater to both beginners and expert skiers. The resort ensures a consistent snowpack, offering a guaranteed 100% chance of snow during operating months. Amenities include a 7,000-square-foot Swiss-style lodge, housing the Mountain Cafe & Bar, where guests can indulge in hearty winter fare and enjoy their favorite beverages. Mt. Crescent goes beyond skiing, offering night skiing, snowshoeing, and snow tubing. For those seeking a sledding adventure, a 1,000-foot run awaits – equivalent to 3 football fields. A quick note to those looking to visit; before embarking on your winter escape, remember to create an online account, purchase tickets in advance, and keep your lift pass handy.
Cone Park stands as Sioux City's premier all-season park, offering a delightful array of winter and summer activities for visitors of all ages. Nestled near the Lewis & Clark ballpark, this recreational haven boasts a 700-foot tubing hill, a 5,400-square foot refrigerated ice-skating rink, and a scenic 2-mile trail loop connecting to Sertoma Park. Open Friday through Sunday, the Cone Park Lodge provides a warm retreat for visitors with a fire pit, rentals, and concessions during the winter months, transforming into a rental facility during non-operating times.
The park's main highlight is the 700-foot tubing hill, welcoming all ages to experience the thrill during 3-hour sessions. The Blue Bunny hill caters to younger adventurers. Reservations are recommended here, as sessions occasionally sell out. In the summer, the ice-skating rink transforms into a free public splash pad. Cone Park offers the perfect blend of outdoor excitement and cozy retreats, making it an ideal destination for families and friends seeking winter fun.
Sleepy Hollow Sports Park was acquired by Polk County Conservation in September of 2022, and is gearing up for an exciting transformation. The park is currently closed for major improvements such as remodeling the lodge facility, enhancing parking/access, and expanding camping operations. The standout feature is the installation of Snowflex on the tubing hill, turning Sleepy Hollow into the world's largest all-season tubing destination. This 39,289 square-foot, all-weather turf, continuously lubricated with water, will allow winter-sports enthusiasts to enjoy tubing, snowboarding, and more, even in the scorching summer months. Excitement is building as Sleepy Hollow Sports Park is sure to promise an unforgettable experience for all seasons.
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Gallery Credit: Stacker