Driftless Stories -

Driftless Winter Fun!

Are you “snooow” ready for winter?! Mark your calendars for Driftless Winter Fun!

The changing of seasons can mean a lot of different things for a lot of different people. Some embrace the warmth and coziness of the darker (and cooler) days going into the Holidays. While others… not so much!  Indeed, the colder months of the year can provide some real challenges for us humans – but if mother nature cooperates, our region does provide some fun outdoor opportunities for “snow much fun!”

Allamakee County Conservation 2023 full moon snowshoe hikes 

A winter full moon provides one of our region’s most stunning opportunities to get outside. Layer up and bring your sense of adventure for Allamakee County Conservation’s Full Moon Snowshoe hikes!

The events will begin at 6:30pm, providing ample opportunity to get out in the darkness – and likely still be home by bedtime!

January 5, 6:30 pm, County Home park, four miles north of Waukon
February 7, 6:30 pm, location tbd 

Watch online for confirmation of specific location details, snowshoe availability, and conditions: www.allamakeecountyconservation.org or facebook.com/AllamakeeCountyConservation

Kickapoo Valley Reserve Winter Festival – January 7, 2023

 Make plans to trek out for the KVR Winter Festival, January 7, 2023, an annual, fun family event at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve near Viroqua, Wisconsin. Potential activities may include sledding, skiing, archery, snow sculpture, ice cave hikes, chain saw carving, wildlife talks & hikes, face painting, horse-drawn bobsled rides, and more. Bring the kids and the dogs and try out the Dog Sled Mutt Fun Run, and don’t miss the Snow Snake Competition and Fat Tire Bike Demonstrations…it’s safe to say that there’s a lot of fun to be had. Later that night, at the neighboring Wildcat Mountain State Park, participate in a candlelight ski/hike/snowshoe and winter star gazing. Activities subject to change due to weather conditions. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Barneløpet – February 4, 2023

Get outside and enjoy Driftless winter day at the 24th annual Barneløpet, a non-competitive ski or walk event for the community’s youngest skiers, ages 3-13. The collaborative Vesterheim Museum and Sons of Norway event will be held at the Decorah Community Prairie February 4 at 10 am, with registration beginning at 9:40 am. 

Barneløpet, (pronounced BAR-nuh-lop-it) is Norwegian for “kids race,” is open to children of all skill levels and is a great event for the entire family. “When you complete the course, you’ll be awarded a medal and served hot chocolate and homemade cookies as you warm yourself by the fire,” Darlene Fossum-Martin, event organizer, says.

Skiers must provide their own skis, but don’t let that deter you. You can join in the fun with a walk through the tall prairie grasses. If in doubt about weather conditions, listen to local radio stations for cancellations.

Sons of Norway lodges all over the country sponsor Barneløpet events. It is modeled after the Barnebirke, a children’s cross-county ski race held each year as a part of the world-famous American Birkebeiner in Hayward, Wisconsin.

The Decorah Community Prairie is accessed by car at the south end of Ohio Street, near Aase Haugen Homes. The trail will be in a loop, with the start and finish at the site of the butterfly garden

Ski & Tube Driftless Winter Fun

If you’re feeling more adventurous, check out the slopes at these regional ski and tube areas. Checking ahead for conditions and hours is always recommended.

Whitetail Ridge Ski & Tube Area – Ft. McCoy, Sparta, Wisconsin

Gentle downhill skiing slopes, a six-lane snow tubing hill with a “magic sidewalk” back up, and more than five miles of cross country ski trails. 608-388-4498 or “Whitetail Ridge” on Facebook.

Mt. La Crosse Ski Area – La Crosse, Wisconsin

Three chair lifts, rope pull beginner, plus an ever-growing snowboard terrain park.
608-788-0044  • www.mtlacrosse.com

Sundown Mountain Resort – Dubuque, Iowa

Four chair lifts, two conveyor carpets, two terrain parks.
563-556-6676  • www.sundownmtn.com

Ironwood Springs – Stewartville, Minnesota

Snow tubing on three hills, single rope tow, sleigh rides on specific dates.
507-533-4315 • www.ironwoodsprings.com

Welch Village Ski & Snowboard Area – Red Wing, Minnesota

Nine chair lifts, magic carpet, rope tow, terrain park. 
651-258-4567 • www.welchvillage.com