Over the years, skating has become an indoor activity, something you do in covered rinks, hockey arenas, even shopping malls. But you haven’t really skated until you’ve enjoyed a day on a frozen lake or river, something in Jasper you can do all winter long.
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge has skating on Lake Mildred. The Lodge clears a rectangular skating rink just a short walk from the main lodge. They also keep it light for night skating. At Lake Mildred, the lodge clears a giant oval that may have you puffing after only one or two times around. There are also usually two rectangular rinks cleared inside the oval where on most days, you’ll find a spirited game or two of shinny. There are benches to sit on, and often a bonfire and free hot chocolate. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon whether you’re staying at the lodge or not.
Pyramid Lake is another super spot for skating. Take Pyramid Lake Road across the Activity Centre for six kilometres to Pyramid Lake Resort where hotel staff have cleared up a portion of the lake near the shore.
And while lakes are the most popular skating areas, you can also venture onto the frozen Snaring River off the Snaring Road that branches from Highway 16 east of the town. Skating on natural surfaces can take some getting used to. Some of the cleared rinks are flooded but you don’t get that Zamboni-like smoothness you’d find at the local indoors arena.
Other lakes that might be good if conditions are right.
You have to watch for bumps, notches and the odd bare patch later in the season. You’ll also hear the occasional loud crack even on the thickest of ice in the dead of winter. Use common sense, if you don’t feel comfortable on the lake, don’t go!
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