The saying goes, there is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing. Bust out the boots and snowpants and consult your AccuWeather app — winter’s officially here and it ain’t leaving anytime soon! However, there is no reason why properly-dressed Omahans, like our Canadian and Scandi brethren, can’t continue to have fun outdoors in the coldest, snowy-est weather. Think of the “outdoorphins” you will generate! Whether you’re still piecing together a winter plan, or if this guide finds you in the throes of a Midwestern snow storm, there’s plenty of excuses to get out through the season and hey — you might even end up enjoying the cold, crisp weather!
Sledding in Omaha
Grab the toboggan or trash can lid and head out to one of Omaha’s best sledding spots. There’s several guides online that purport to know the best sledding hills, so who are we to try and name one? Memorial Park is a perennial favorite for its central location atop plentiful hills. Rockbrook Park (aka “Rocket Park”) is also highly rated and fondly remembered by those who grew up in the neighborhood. Check out your nearby grade schools and local parks and remember: sometimes the best hill is the one in your own backyard.
A Wintery Hike
If you’re willing to brave the weather, or if you get an unexpected warm day, take a hike through one of the many parks and trails in the Omaha area. And did you know that UNO’s Outdoor Venture Center rents winter equipment like cross country skis and snowshoes? (*Be sure and check whether they are open during the pandemic.) Meet like-minded hikers by joining a Facebook group like Trail Seekers Omaha so you are in the know about the best spots to hike. From the bluffs to the woods to a riverside jaunt, take time to appreciate the beauty of a winter landscape. BONUS: no bugs!
A Bundled Up Bike Ride
Likewise, just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you have to put the bike away. Plenty of the paths and roadways will be usable through the colder weather, just watch the weather forecast for snow and ice. If you’re really hardcore, check out your local bike shop for some bikes with all-terrain tires that can plow through snow, gravel and any other surface. Keep your bike in winter shape with a tuneup or maybe even purchase a new bike for winter conditions.
Make a Snowperson!
Inner elementary schooler, meet your inner Rodin. A snowman or snow sculpture is something anyone can create with the right sticky snow and whatever else you care to add as an accessory. If you’re going with “Snowman Classic,” you’ll need a carrot or stick, something for eyes (buttons, rocks, Hershey’s kisses or Lifesavers) and an open mind. The sky is the limit when it comes to this fun but chilly tribute to impermanence.
Yes, people do this and here is an entire guide to Ice Fishing in Nebraska to prove it. This may not be everyone’s cup of tea (you need a pro-level winter gear, a fishing permit and probably an auger!) but for the most intrepid and well-bundleed, fishing is a year-round passion.
Local Group Runs
Midwestern runners love running, but they can’t wait for perfect weather unless they move to San Diego. So they’ve learned to adapt to heat and cold conditions. Many runners actually prefer cooler weather! Local group runs have gone socially distant or virtual during the past year, but by golly, they are still out there running and you could be with them.