Sport Spotlight: Winter Ski Sports in Des Moines

Sport Spotlight: Winter Ski Sports in Des Moines

Did you know that the ski was invented before the wheel? Skies were used in prehistoric times as a mode of transportation and survival. Today skiing has become a highly competitive sport and winter pastime. This time of year presents a terrific opportunity to introduce the sport to your child.  There are a few places where youth can learn more about downhill skiing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing in Des Moines.


Hitting the slopes or trails on a pair of skis appeals to many families because it’s something they can do together. Getting kids involved in skiing will also help them stay active and get them outside during winter. All three sports improve flexibility and strength and cross-country skiing, in particular, is one of the best, if not the best, cardiovascular exercises there is.


All three sports require quite a bit of equipment that will need to be purchased and stored.  And, if you haven’t noticed, there aren’t a lot of mountains in Iowa, so there are only a couple of local places where kids can learn how to downhill ski or snowboard.  Lastly, not all kids are made for the cold.  Being outside for hours in frigid temps, just may not be their thing.

Best For

The natural curiosity, lack of fear, love of excitement, and desire kids have to expend energy make them great students for skiing or snowboarding. Kids as young as three can learn how to ski. But beware, even though it may seem all fun and games, realize that skiing, whether it’s downhill or cross-country is physically demanding and kids will be worn out and may get frustrated when they’re first learning.

Time Commitment

Many ski hills and local conservation offices offer one-time lessons. For kids over age six, half days and full day sessions are available, as are multi-week seasonal programs.


  • Skis or Snowboard
  • Poles
  • Helmet
  • Clothing: Coat, Ski Pants, Gloves, Goggles, etc.
  • Boots


  • Lessons: $50+lesson
  • Lift Tickets: $20+
  • Downhill Skis, Snowboard or Cross Country Ski: $100+
  • Poles: $20+
  • Helmet: $30+
  • Clothing: Coat, Ski Pants, Gloves, Goggles, etc.: $10+
  • Boots: $50+

Skis, Poles, Helmet and boots can also be rented. All costs are approximate.  As with any activity, as your child progresses, only your family can choose what you will spend in relation to your child’s specific goals within the sport whether competitively or recreationally.

Downhill Skiing, Snowboarding and Cross Country Skiing Resources in Des Moines

There are a two local places where kids can learn how to downhill ski and snowboard. We’ve also listed a few within a couple of hours driving distance.  County Conservation offices provide cross-country skiing equipment and introductory instruction.

Dallas County Conservation – Adel
Des Moines Parks and Recreation – Des Moines
Mount Crescent Ski Area – Honey Creek
Polk County Conservation – Des Moines
Seven Oaks Recreation Center – Boone
Sleepy Hollow Sports Park – Des Moines
Sundown Mountain Resort – Dubuque
Warren County Conservation – Indianola




What do you think, is Downhill Skiing, Snowboarding or Cross-Country Skiing a fit for your kid?

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