If You Want Omaha Skiing, Your Best Bet Is The Mt Crescent Ski Area
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While there is a surprising diversity of geographical features and land in Nebraska (Surprise! It’s not just ALL cornfields!), I suppose it’s not entirely surprising that there aren’t a ton of skiing options.
But, as someone who loves the outdoors and loves adrenaline sports, I finally (as an adult!) learned to ski. Sadly, it wasn’t here in Nebraska and even more frustrating, to get to the big ski resorts from here, you’ve got to travel. (more on that below)
So, after moving back to Omaha, I decided to try to find ski areas near me as well as all the places to ski in Nebraska. I pulled up Liftopia, one of the best compilations of ski information on the web to see what my options were and took a screenshot of what I found…
Well? There it is. Here are my options!
Yup, you figured it out as quickly as I did. There. Is. Nothing. ? Wah Wah.
Sadly enough, there was once huge plans for what looked like a pretty kick ass resort in Knox County called the Devil’s Nest. Sure, it was no Breckenridge, but there was supposed to be beautiful views from the top of the skilift, yachting in the summer and more. How awesome does that look!?
Again, a far cry from the flat, plains that most people think is only in Nebraska.
But alas, despite my efforts to find skiing near me, or even just ski resorts in Nebraska in general, I couldn’t. So, I am breaking my WellTraveledNebraskan rule of only touting awesome Nebraskan things to do.
Today, I’m crossing the Missouri river and going into (gasp!) Iowa to go skiing at Mt. Crescent in Honey Creek Iowa.
Granted, for you lucky Western Nebraskaners, it’s within a weekend trip to hit some great Colorado skiing for a few days, but that is even quite a few hours drive to the big resorts from Nebraska.
BUT, just in case I don’t convince you to at least TRY Mt. Crescent, I’ve got a section below on Fan Favorite Ski Resorts in Colorado, which are some of the closest to us here in Nebraska.
For those of you in Northern Nebraska, there are a few small options in South Dakatoa or even Wisconsin, too
But for us Nebraskans on the South- Eastern side of the state, Mt. Crescent is one of the nearest option for skiing.
If you are looking for skiing near Omaha, it’s just a stones throw away, taking only about 25 minutes from Downtown.
So, we grabbed our gear (more on what is included in your Mt. Crescent ski pass below), bundled up with proper clothing to wear in Nebraska winters, and set out for a day of skiing and snowboarding. Check out the slopes with us in the video, get the logistics (hours, location, prices, and more) below, and then read on for our 5 Reasons to Ski Mt. Crescent Vs. Colorado.
Mt Crescent Skiing In Iowa Location
Many people think that the ski “resort” in Iowa is in a place called Mt. Crescent, Iowa (understandably so).
First, there is no town called MOUNT Crescent.
Second, it’s not even IN the actual town of Crescent Iowa.
However, it is just a few minutes North of Crescent in Honey Creek, Iowa located in the beautiful bluffs of Loess Hills and is actually one of several places to ski Iowa.
Mt. Crescent Address:
17026 Snowhill Ln, Honey Creek, IA 51542
Mt Crescent Hours and Opening Times:
Monday and Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday and Thursday: 11am-5pm
Mt Crescent Sledding (read more on this below, including costs)
Saturday and Sunday 10am-4pm
Does It Snow in Iowa and Nebraska?
Coming from Nebraska, I always find it funny when people ask if it snows here, but it’s a legit question I get asked when I travel! In fact, this winter alone we are already topping 40 inches of snow…and it’s only February!
The answer is obviously a resounding YES. However, I will admit that with all the climate changes going on, our winters haven’t been as brutal as I remember even growing up.
Mt. Crescent does make their own snow, but obviously, pending weather even making their own doesn’t guarantee fantastic powder.
Therefore, if the weather has been iffy, despite the winter season, do a phone call just to ensure they are open before heading out.
Daily Ski and Snowboard Lift Tickets
There are quite a few options, so it is best to look at the website for the age ranges, prices, and discounts available. The tickets are also cheaper during the week, so if you have a flexible schedule, that is a great way to save a bit of cash!
Check Out the Current Pricing Here
If you love getting out in the winter or if you are looking at learning how to ski before a big ski trip to the mountains, getting a season pass can be a great option.
There are individual, children, adult, family, and add on prices. Check their page for current pricing
You can also rent gear for the whole season as well, which is better than
1) Renting individually each time
2) Buying if you are not sure you want to become avid skiers
3) Have kids who are going to grow out of gear fast
Since a lot of us Midwesterners don’t ski regularly, it is nice that you can rent gear at Mt. Crescent. The following gear is available to rent:
- Skis and snowboards
- Ski and snowboard boots
What To Wear Skiing at Mt. Crescent
A lot of people traveling to Nebraska ask me “How Do I Dress For Winters In Nebraska” and here’s your answer! Here are a few of my must haves for skiing though:
- Snow pants
- Proper Layering! (Moisture wicking as a base, something like fleece as middle and waterproof coat as outer)
- Waterproof Gloves
- Hat or earmuffs
5 Reasons To Ski Mount Crescent
Perfect Omaha Winter Staycation
I don’t know about you, but I always get to a point in the Nebraskan winters where I start to go stir crazy and get cabin fever. I need to get OUT!
But, a grand vacation isn’t always in the budget or in the calendar. However, the good news is, with just a bit of creativity, you can actually have a pretty stellar Omaha Staycation!
Why not make an Omaha Ski Weekend your winter staycation this year?
Go ALL out as if you were skiing it up in the Alps!
- Book a hotel that has a hot tub, like the Downtown Mariott or Hilton
- Turn off the TVs and light up a fire in the fireplace at home.
- Play board games on a rug in front of the flames with a glass of wine.
- Warm Up With a Hot Drink: I love sitting in a ski lodge with a hot drink, whether it be a cappuccino or something a bit stronger! Make a special hot drink at home to feel extra fancy!
- Finish the weekend with a massage to ease those sore muscles.
Save Major Moolah!
Last year, I REALLY wanted to go skiing. So, I started looking up places like Vail, Breckenridge, and Copper in Colorado and immediately wondered if I needed to take a loan out just for a ski trip!
Ok, maybe it’s not THAT much, but a trip to one of the major resorts in Colorado can cost:
- Ski Pass: A ski pass is only a mere $150….per DAY…per Adult!!! Yikes.
- Air Fare or Gas: You can get cheap flights to Denver, but then you still have to rent a car to get to the resorts. Alternatively, you can spend a good 10 hours stuck in the car in winter conditions + gas to get to the Rockies from Eastern Nebraska. Depending on what you choose for transportation, you can be looking at a few hundred dollars.
- Lodging: Lodging around Colorado ski resorts know they can price gouge, and so they do! You’d be hard pressed to find hotels, condos or lodging for less than $200 for a room!
- Gear Rental: Then of course, you might need to rent your gear! Don’t be shocked if this costs you upwards of $75-$100 a day
But the cost of Mt. Crescent?
- Ski Pass: $30-$50 a day per person. There are a lot of discounts available as well, such as military, police and senior citizen discounts.
- Gas: You don’t need to worry about flights, so it’s just the cost of gas to drive about 30 minutes from Omaha
Lodging: If you do an Omaha Staycation, it’s free if you decide to stay at home. Or, if you splurge, you can get some REALLY nice hotels or AirBnBs right here in Omaha for about $100 a night.
Gear Rental: Even if you have to rent every piece of gear, you are still only looking at less than $50
Learn to Ski
The first time I ever went skiing at a real resort in the mountains was in the Swiss Alps.
What a freaking mistake! I mean, yeah it was breathtakingly gorgeous!!! But it was also breathtaking in the sense that more times than not, I was sure I was going to fly off the side of a mountain to my demise.
I think it goes without saying that I bit off more than I could chew on that ski trip.
I ended up spending most of the weekend doing the biggest “pizza skis” I possibly could while going painstakingly slow steep slopes while others zoomed past me.
I’m not one to be overly proud, but it was a real reality check as these little 3 year olds zoomed past me as I did the biggest “S”s I could to stay slow and steady!!!
A great alternative or a way to have gotten a better use out of my weekend would have been to have gone to a location like Mt Crescent to get some ski legs first.
Meaning, get the basics of skiing, logistics, moves, etc. Even something as “simple” as getting off the ski lift is hard for us Nebraskans who aren’t used to skiing! I wish I could have had more practice, not only for the sake of my sore body but also for my ego!
Teach the Kids
Everyone knows that kids are like sponges. They learn skills faster than us adults could ever hope for.
So yeah, of course, they can learn to ski at the Alpine resorts and I bet they’d do great. (It probably has to do with that “Have no fear” mentality kids somehow have and us adults somehow lose overtime!)
But that could cost an arm and a leg.
Why not head to the Crescent Hill and save an absolute fortune on teaching the kiddos to ski? My nephews LOVE just going out for the day. Plus, if you are getting cabin fever and want your kiddo to burn off some major energy, skiing is the perfect activity.
Again, that way when you DO decide to make for a big ski holiday, they aren’t wasting time or money learning how while they are there and instead can get the most from the slopes. I can’t wait for another year or two for when my toddler will be ready to start slow and easy and share in one of my favorite winter activities.
Mt Crescent Sledding
If skiing isn’t really your speed, you can also sled at Mt. Crescent. I mean, how great would it be to sled to the bottom and have the luxury of a ski lift to take you back to the top of the hill!?
With your ticket, you get a sled (no personal sleds permitted) and lift tickets.
A few things to note about the sledding at Mt. Crescent:
- No children under 7
- No refunds due to weather conditions
- Only one person per sled
- No ski boots on the sledding hill (bring your own snow boots)
Mt. Crescent Sledding Costs
Sledding is only available Saturdays and Sundays.
The above costs do not include the 7% sales tax
General Ski Rules and Ski Etiquette
As folks who don’t hit the slopes all too often, I find that it easy for people here to not learn the proper ski etiquette that is really required on big mountains (after all, we aren’t raised with it).
But, that’s not to say that we shouldn’t try, even when at a place like Mt. Crescent. Here are a few of the main ski rules and etiquette to consider on ANY hill or slope:
- Priority: The people below you ALWAYS have the “right of way” meaning it is YOUR responsibility to stay out of the way of below you (AKA always be watching them to know how to get out of THEIR way)
- Overtaking: You can only pass people if you can guarantee that there is enough space between the two that if the person below makes an involuntary movement that you won’t be in their way
- Ski Lifts: As soon as you get off of the ski lift, move far enough out of the way that people getting off won’t run into you. It’s not uncommon to accidentally take a spill right out of the gate. If that happens, just stay calm and quickly scoot to the side (hey, we’ve all been there!).
- Stopping: If you need to stop halfway through the hill, no problem. Take a break off to the side of the slope, not in the middle.
- Assistance: It is an unwritten rule that in the event of someone falling or an emergency, it is YOUR duty as a fellow skier to stop and help for assistance.
Still Want to Head To Some Bigger Ski Resorts?
Here are some of our favorite and best ski resorts close to Nebraska to hit up in Colorado.
My top pick for Nebraskans is Loveland Ski Resort. It is PERFECT for beginners, as it has easier runs but still some challenges if you want to improve. It’s only a short drive from Denver if you fly in and the cost of tickets is a fraction of the big resorts!
Other Fan Favorites Are:
- Copper Mountain
- Crested Butte
- Winter Park
Other Great Midwest Ski Areas
For those of you Cornhuskers not in Omaha and depending on where in the Good Life you live, there are still some ski slopes similar to Mt. Crescent in the surrounding states.
Midwest: Kids Are A Trip outline some of their favorite midwest ski places
Iowa and Other Nebraska Hills: Siouxland Families gives us some great inspiration in our neighboring state.
Illinois: Midwest Base Camp actually has a lot on their site, but one of the closer ones is Chestnut Mountain
Cross Country: If you like cross country skiing, look into the American Birkebeiner!
Thank you to Mt. Crescent for hosting us for the day. All opinions and content are my own.