Adrian Lara: Your winter in Lincoln

By Adrian Lara.  Posted February 13, 2014.

Nebraska has seasons, and winter can be the most misunderstood of them all. For me, winter is one of the most exciting times of the year. (Yes, I love snow!) So you can appreciate the season a little more, here’s a quick list of some things you can enjoy around Lincoln complete with the where and how as well. I seized my chance to also write some tips about this season at the end. Enjoy!


What: Cross-country skiing
Where: Holmes Lake, Pioneer, and Wilderness Parks
How: When Lincoln gets at least 5’’ of snow, the parks suddenly become the perfect place for a day of cross country skiing. Go to the Outdoor Activities office (right outside of the Rec Center) and rent skis, boots and poles!

What: Mountain skiing
Where: Mount Crescent, Iowa
How: Although we don’t really have skiing hills in Nebraska, there is a nice skiing location in Iowa, just one hour away from Lincoln. This place is mostly good for beginners; intermediates will have fun; advanced will miss the big mountains and the fresh powder. If you want to get a feel of skiing, this is the place to go before you make big plans and head to Colorado for a 3-day skiing escapade!

What: Ice Skating
Where: Ice Box or Haymarket
How: UNL hosts ice skating nights once a month during winter. With your NCard, you can skate for free and pay only $3 to rent skates. The new Railyard area (next to the Haymarket and near the Pinnacle Bank Arena) recently opened an ice skating place on Canopy Street too.  Admission is free but skate rentals are $12.  The great thing about this place is you can skate here and then go directly into the Public Market to enjoy some hot chocolate or to Hiro88 for some sushi!

What: Sledding
Where: Holmes Lake or Pioneers Park
How: First, go to Walmart to buy a sled (they’re quite cheap!) Then, head to Holmes Lake or Pioneers Park. Holmes Lake has one of the nicest hills for sledding. Pioneers Park has a man-built ramp. The hill at Pioneers Park is longer, but the one at Holmes Lake is steeper. They’re both a lot of fun!

Tips for planning trips during winter

  • If possible, think of the weather before planning! Don’t go skiing if it’s -10 degrees and windy; you won’t enjoy it.
  • Avoid long drives. It’s a lot of fun to drive to Chicago or to Denver, but if it starts snowing, it won’t be fun anymore! Prioritize Amtrak or flying when planning such a trip.
  • If driving, consider carrying a snow shovel, some extra blankets in case you get stuck on the highway…and some chocolate! It will make everybody happier in case there’s any trouble.
  • If flying, be aware of Chicago and Denver airports or any others a little further North! In case of winter storms, it’s extremely likely that your flight will be canceled. So don’t go through those airports if you’re on a strict schedule and give yourself at least three hours if you are just arriving to the U.S.

Tips for driving during winter

  • Keep your car in good conditions! A battery in bad shape will fail when trying to turn on your car at 0 degrees. Also, tires in poor, snowy or wet conditions can be dangerous.
  • If you’ve never driven in the snow, be careful the first couple of times! Learning how to drive in the snow can be as scary as just learning how to drive. The best tip is just to go slow. Try your first time to drive with an experienced snow-driver to get some good tips about turning, accelerating, and braking.  If you don’t do this, at least go online to read some tips on snow driving! And if you don’t do this either… it’s because of people like you that driving in winter can be so dangerous! :)
  • Be extremely careful on cold days following rain or snow. When you see everything white, it’s quite easy to be careful. But the next day, when it seems to be clear, then black ice shows up, and that’s when it gets really dangerous. So remember just because you don’t see any snow on the street doesn’t mean it won’t be slippery.

Final tip

Fall in love with snow and cold. If you’re going to be here for five years, it will make winter so much better!