Thanksgiving is symbolic for skiers and snowboarders as the beginning of the ski season. The first snow has arrived in parts of the country and even a few mountains have snow starting to stack up, helping to build their bases. This is also a time to spend precious moments with your family and friends, enjoying some turkey, cranberries, and of course – dessert! With only a ribbon of snow at most resorts and a ton of crowds, what else can you do on your trip or time off? Why not get on a pair of ice skates? It’s a great way to burn off that heavy meal, and you can get those balancing muscles warmed up for the season as well.
Here are our five favorite ice skating rinks in ski towns throughout North America:
Sun Valley Ice Rink
Where: Sun Valley, Idaho
Being America’s First destination ski resort, celebrities like Earnest Hemingway, Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, and Ingrid Bergman came here to enjoy the fantastic winter wonderland known as Sun Valley. From the beginning in 1937, ice skating was deeply entrenched in the culture here. This must be why Sun Valley has one of the few outdoor rinks that is open year-round. This rink even gives you the opportunity to challenge yourself and skate with former and up and coming Olympians. If you do make it here, be sure to check out one of their famed ice shows as well. It will not disappoint.
Leon Black Family Ice Rink
Where: Beaver Creek, Colorado
Coziness is the word that comes to mind for the Leon Black Family Ice Rink, lying in the center of the town of Beaver Creek. Named after the executive who brought Vail out of bankruptcy, the ice rink is like the main jewel in the Vail Resorts crown. Surrounded by buildings that could fit in a European village, this is a fairy-tale-looking resort town. If you’re a bit chilly, don’t worry… there are plenty of fire pits you can warm up at. Also, with many themed events happening, it’s definitely a good option if you’re looking for that typical Colorado vacation.
Olympic Ice Pavilion
Where: Squaw Valley, California
Squaw Valley was home to the 1960 Winter Olympics and even though the original ice skating rink, Blyth Arena, collapsed from the snow in 1982, you can still try your best impersonation to be an Olympian at the Olympic Ice Pavilion. Situated at the top of the Cable Car, the panoramic views at 8200’ are to die for and can be considered some of the best in the country. The rink is scheduled to open November 23rd and is weather dependent.
Even though the next two ice skating locales may not be able to be skated over Thanksgiving, the list wouldn’t be complete without them due to their unique feel and look.
Where: Lake Louise, Alberta
The massive Canadian Rocky Mountains cup the lake as you whisk past on your skates. The silence is deafening like a church with only the sound being your skates slashing against the ice. Looking around to the scenery, you suddenly understand why ice hockey was created in this country. In fact, it can be argued that there isn’t a more beautiful place to go ice skating anywhere in the world.
Where: Jackson Hole, WY
Located right smack dab in the center of the town of Jackson Hole, this rink brings a feeling of the Wild West to it. The George Washington Memorial Park, locally known as the Town Square, is adorned by four elk antler arches that are lit up over the winter months. The ice skating rink itself is dotted with trees and other fixtures that make it feel like you are taking a walk in the park with a pair of ice skates.
No matter what type of snow exists on the slopes, you can still have an amazing vacation if you embrace winter and enjoy all the activities that exist in a ski-town. Is ice skating on your list or do you enjoy something else as well? Let us know – we love to hear from our readers.