THINGS TO DO:
In Calgary, one of the most exciting indoor ice skating destinations is the Olympic Oval at the University of Calgary, located in the city’s northwest. It’s where Olympic speed skaters train and amateurs like me can glide on the same icy track.
Twins Rachael and Brianna, my 11-year-old nieces, hold my hand as we whip around the ice. Of the speed options I consistently offer them – super, rocket and ultra – they prefer I just dial it down to “less talking, Uncle.” New this year at the Oval, public skaters are required to wear helmets. Whatever your need for speed, there are hundreds of indoor and outdoor skating options throughout Alberta.
Ice Skating Calgary and Edmonton
The Olympic Plaza right across from city hall in downtown Calgary is a whole heap of free fun, and usually open from early December until mid-March. Otherwise, Calgary’s city outdoor rinks are weather dependent and typically open mid-December through February.
For Edmonton outdoor ice skating rinks, attractions include William Hawrelak Park and Rundle Park, both usually ready by Christmas. Hawrelak has the Silver Skate Festival in February. Sir Winston Churchill Square at city hall, speed skating at Victoria Park Oval at the west end of River Road, and the Alberta Legislature south grounds are other options. For indoors, check out the Ice Palace inside West Edmonton Mall.
Discover More Alberta Ice Skating
- In Canmore, a 50-minute drive west of Calgary, skate on the Rundle Crescent Ice Surface and the Peaks Park Ice Surface.
- Banff offers a skating oval cleared on the Bow River when conditions allow, as well as indoor and outdoor rinks at the Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre.
- Skating on Lake Louise is a magical experience. The Victoria Glacier reaches toward you from the far end of the lake, and the grand Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise behind you is the most inviting après skate in the neighbourhood. Be there for the annual Ice Magic Festival in January.
- In Jasper National Park, aside from the many lakes, you have hotels that maintain skating areas including the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and Jasper’s Pyramid Lake Resort.
- Ice skating in Red Deer is a skating option midway between Edmonton and Calgary, with more than 50 outdoor rinks and six indoor facilities.
- Head north and you’ll find many rinks in Grande Prairie, whether you prefer hockey or just skating. Lethbridge in southern Alberta has ice centres that run until April.