If it ever snows again this winter, the kids will be ready to get out and play in it. Why not teach them to snow shoe or cross-country ski? Both sports combine fun with fitness and are great winter activities that will get your family out of the house to embrace the cold weather.
Snowshoeing is fairly easy and inexpensive. Your kids don’t need to be athletic or even outdoorsy to enjoy walking in snowshoes. Cross-country skiing requires a little more skill and investment, especially if you purchase equipment. But even with that, kids of all ages can have a blast.
Give snow shoeing or cross-country skiing a try by renting equipment from one of these local establishments:
Active Endeavors is a local retail store that specializes in outdoor apparel and accessories. They are located at 4520 University Avenue in West Des Moines near Barnes and Noble. Current pricing for snowshoe rental is $15 for one day and $25 for two days while cross country skis, boots, and poles are $17 for one day and $28 for two days. Call (515) 226-9345 for more information.
Dallas County Conservation Board
Equipment and instruction about the sports are provided by the Dallas County Conservation Board. The classes are offered at the Kuehn Conservation Area where students snow shoe or cross-country ski trails through some of the prettiest natural landscapes in the Des Moines area. The classes have a nominal fee and registration is required. For details call (515) 465-3577.
Des Moines Parks & Recreation
When there’s three or more inches of snow, check out free snow shoes and cross-country skis for the whole family and get some cold-weather exercise. Equipment can be checked out 10 a.m.-4 p.m., while supplies last. On Feb. 3rd, Des Moines Parks & Recreation will host a Snow Moon Snowshoe Hike. Experience a winter full moon from a set of snowshoes. Participants will take a walk through Grandview Park, get some exercise and enjoy a crisp winter evening. For more information, call (515)-248-6369.
Neal Smith Refuge
During winter months, visitors of all ages are invited to use the Refuge’s adult and child size snowshoes for FREE, and join a ranger for a fun snowshoe hike on Feb. 14th. A minimum of four inches of snow on the trail is required to use snowshoes; if there is not enough snow, a hike on foot will still occur. Find a Winter Program and Activity Guide on their website or call (515) 994-3400 for more information.
Polk County Conservation Board
If you’d like to try cross-country skiing or snowshoeing after a fresh snow, consider renting a pair from the Polk County Conservation Board. Equipment can be reserved in advance by calling (515) 323-5300. Cross-country skis are $8 a day and snowshoes are $7 a day. Classes, which include equipment rental are also offered at several county parks. Check website for location, date and times of classes.
Rasmussen Bicycle Shop
Rasmussen Bicycle Shop rents out snowshoes and poles during the winter months. Snowshoe rental is $12 a day; pole rental is $8 a day or get a break by renting both for $18 a day. The bike shop is located at 301 Grand Avenue in West Des Moines. Check out their website or call (515) 277-2636 for details.
Have you taken your kids cross-country skiing or snow shoeing? Did you/they like it?