[R353R, Seven Oaks], located on 150 acres in the scenic Des Moines River Valley, is like an oasis for snow sports-starved Iowans in the central portion of the Hawkeye State.  They would have to drive well over 100 miles to find comparable skiing and riding. 

The Oaks is offering several promotions this winter that help keep skiing and riding affordable for Iowa families.

A lift and lodging package is available through the Baymont Inn.  With rates starting at $219 for a family of four, the package includes lodging, four all-day lift passes, free lessons, ski equipment rental, and snow tubing.  The Inn offers a complimentary spa and indoor pool to enjoy after skiing.  Advance reservations are required by calling the number listed below.

Weekly specials include a $10 lift ticket Wednesday and Thursday evenings; Family Four Pack 4 to 9 p.m. Friday night cost $78, and include lift tickets, ski rentals, and lesson for a family of four (all same household).  Kid's specials are One for One:  Every day children age 5 and younger receive a free ski package and lesson with the purchase of one adult lift ticket.  The same deal applies on Sunday for kid's age 8 and under.

Late night skiing and riding is available 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Jan. 16 and 30, and Feb. 13, for $20.  Ski and snowboard packages, which include free tubing, are $32 and $36 respectively.

The Oaks has three lifts, two triple chairlifts and a surface lift, for skiing and riding, 13 named runs, and a 275-foot vertical drop, which is decent for this area of the Heartland.  It also offers tubing, complete with its own lift.

More information: Seven Oaks Recreation Area; Baymont Inn package. Or call 515-432-8168.