Ice Skating Adventures - Unique or Special Settings
by Mitch Kaplan
You can ice skate at many ski resorts, sometimes in more than one place. But some resorts offer a bit extra, something beyond striding in a circle til your ankles ache or you get dizzy. And, in some spots you will go in circles, but you’ll be circling on ice that’s got a special flair or some special meaning in the skating world.
Magog, Quebec. Just a few miles down the road from Mont Orford Ski Resort lies Magag, a rather quaint little town that sits on the shore of Lake Memphramagog. (Say that five times fast.) On the edge of town - and along the lake’s edge, as well as passing through a littoral wetlands - the town has created a 2.5-kilometer, lighted ice path that not only allows skaters to travel amidst delightful scenery, but also can be used as a way to skate from your condo to downtown!
Big White Resort, British Columbia. Newly created this year, Big White has constructed an outdoor skating rink, which is five times larger than the resort’s previous installation, and it includes a one-kilometer skating trail. The trail extends from the Happy Valley Daylodge to the end of Trailside condominiums and townhouses development. Better still, heading eastward, a skate trail extends over a bridge onto a smaller ice surface that’s exclusively set aside for hockey.
Sun Valley, Idaho. Okay, you might think an ice rink is just an ice rink, but the skating venue at the Sun Valley Lodge is the very one made famous by Olympic star Sonja Heine in “Sun Valley Serenade”. The trick here is to take your kids to the Sun Valley Opera House (just a few steps away) to watch the movie in an old-time atmosphere, then try some of Ms. Heine’s moves on the ice that she made famous.
Lake Placid, New York. And, speaking of ice surfaces made famous by famous skaters, only in Lake Placid can you skate on the speed skating oval on which Eric Heiden won five gold medals at the 1980 Games. Set inauspiciously in the Lake Placid High School schoolyard, it’s rather fun to imagine yourself striding to glory at this spot. Or, wander down the block to skate indoors at either the 1980 or 1932 Olympic arenas. Very cool, indeed.
Beaver Creek, Colorado. Sometimes it’s all about setting. In Beaver Creek, the ice rink stands right in the middle of things adjacent to the Park Hyatt Resort & Spa on the resort’s main pedestrian mall and, perhaps more impressively, it stands on top of the Vilar Center for the Performing Arts. This is truly a rink to see and on which to be seen.
Squaw Valley, California. Not often does one get to do some mountaintop skating. But, that’s the deal at Squaw’s High Camp complex, where the rink sits at near 8,200 feet elevation. The views for skaters are matchless.
Vail, Colorado. Another high-mountain site, skating here is at the Adventure Center, elevation 10,000 feet. Great views, and free rink access with your own skates.
...... Mitch Kaplan
is the author of The Unofficial Guide to the Mid-Atlantic with Kids, The Cheapskate’s Guide to Myrtle Beach and The Golf Book of Lists. He is a contributor to The Unofficial Guide to New England & New York with Kids and to the annual guide Ski America & Canada.