Everyone comes to Whistler for the skiing, but the ice skating is also good here. If you’ve never tried it, this year might be the year to take a slight detour. You won’t regret it.
The Robson Square rink is free, and it’s an outdoor ice skating rink. But, the cool part about this rink is that it’s fully covered, so you won’t get snowed out. The glass dome that covers the skating area protects you from the wind and creates great photo opportunities. But, because it’s free, the weekends tend to be really busy so get here early. If you want to rent skis, it’s $5. Otherwise, bring your own.
Grouse Mountain Pond Rink
This rink is a small one, but it’s still amazing. Sitting atop Grouse Mountain, it’s a beautiful spot to skate and makes you feel like one of the Peanuts gang. During the Christmas season, Santa’s workshop and a reindeer pen are set up near the skating rink.
Throughout the year, there’s also The Observatory – the indoor restaurant. And, to top things off, there’s a fire pit beside the rink that adds a soft smell of wood smoke to the atmosphere. What more could you possibly want?
Unlike most rinks in the area, this one isn’t free. You can rent skates here, but if you bring your own, there are no sharpening services.
You can skate on most of the lakes and ponds on Alta and Green Lakes and the surrounding area, due to the elevation freezing the water over. However, there’s always a risk when lake skating so if you’re just learning how to skate, you should take someone with you that has experience with this type of skating. Specifically, you need to know how to measure ice thickness. When in doubt, stick to the free rink at Whistler Olympic Plaza.
Of course, you can always book Whistler Blackcomb lodging and just hike around the area, if you want. Or, get a guide to show you which lakes might be safe to skate on.
Meadow Park Sports Centre
Meadow Park is an indoor skating rink. Unlike a lot of rinks, this one allows ice hockey, pickup hockey, and figure skating. You can even host corporate events here, or book your birthday on the ice. This rink does charge for skating, but the fees are usually pretty reasonable.
This is probably the best, and only, place to reliably skate indoors. Most of the rinks in the area are outdoors, and for good reason. It’s plenty cold, and so it’s cheaper to build and outdoor rink than it is to maintain an indoor one.
The area also have the infamous Whistler Olympic Plaza, which isn’t an indoor rink, but rather a public skating plaza that always has free open skating. The rink is open daily from mid-December to March, and from 11AM to 9PM. It does close for maintenance from 2PM to 3PM and from 5:30PM to 6:30 PM. Rental shops are open almost all day for you to rent skates, if you need them.
Maria Harder loves all winter outdoor sports. An avid writer, she likes to share her experiences with those looking for great escapes. You can read her illuminating articles on many travel, sports and leisure blogs and websites today.