I remember the winters as a young girl in northern Indiana. No snow was too much. No cold was too cold. We loved to be outside sledding, building snowmen and constructing snow forts to protect against incoming snowballs. All the neighborhood kids had ice skates. We would seek out and skate on frozen puddles created by neighborhood construction. And there was a pond just across the road that the owners allowed us to clear for ice skating and hockey.
After school and on weekends, the pond was a hub of activity: little kids on wobbly ankles holding hands with their moms; bigger kids skating along the shoreline, going as fast as we could; hockey kids who took over one end of the pond as their own. It is a bit sad that my boys have yet to have the experience of ice skating outdoors, where dressing for the elements serves double duty as padding against falls. They have been on the indoor rinks, however, and can attest to the fact that ice is cold and hard, but for the fun, it is all worth it.
For me, there is an element of freedom in ice skating. Maybe it’s the same freedom skiers feel on the slopes; or what mountain bikers feel on a scenic trail. Grab your kids or your sweetie and head onto the ice this winter. There are plenty of ice skating spots in Idaho – inside and out – to start new traditions, provoke laughter and make more memories. Don’t forget the hot cocoa piled with marshmallows for a perfect ending. I’d better go lace up my skates…..
Outdoor Ice Skating Areas
The Village at Meridian, Meridian – this outdoor rink is surrounded by shops and restaurants and decorated with sparkling lights. The rink is open daily through late-February (conditions permitting) and skate rentals are available. Contact The Village at 208.888.1701 for more information.
Fun on the ice at the Sun Valley Lodge.
Sun Valley Ice Rink, Sun Valley – The Sun Valley Outdoor Ice Rink has some of the best views in the valley. Olympian Tara Lipinski, who won the figure skating gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics, ranks it among her favorite rinks. They also have an indoor rink. Both are open daily and offers skate rentals. Call the ice center for more information at 208.622.2194.
Round Lake State Park near Sandpoint – This forested state park sits at the edge of 58-acre Round Lake and it’s a beautiful place to skate when conditions allow. Bring your own skates and contact the park at 208.263.3489 for more information.
Hailey Ice, Hailey – Located at the rodeo grounds, the main arena is transformed each winter into an outdoor ice rink that offers free skating for all. Loaner skates and gear are available daily from 2:30-6:00pm Monday-Friday, and 10:00am-6:00pm on Saturday and Sunday (weather permitting). Call 208.720.3086 for more information.
The Sawtooth Mountains are a beautiful backdrop in Stanley.
Stanley Ice Rink, Stanley – You can’t beat the spectacular views of the Sawtooth Mountains at this community rink! Located on a hilltop across from Pioneer Park and overlooking the town, this ice rink is open from dawn until 10:00 p.m. for skating under the lights. A popular spot for hockey and curling, skates are available to borrow, but remember to bring your own thermos of hot cocoa. Contact the Stanley Chamber of Commerce for more information at 208.774.3411 or 1.800.878.7950.
Kotler Ice Arena, Victor – At this beautiful outdoor, covered ice rink, skating while the sun sets over the Big Hole mountains is an experience you won’t want to miss! Public open skating sessions are held on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Skaters will enjoy the warming hut, skate rentals, pro-shop and concessions. Call 208.201.5356, 208.399.2423 or check the arena schedule online.
Skating on Christina Potters Ice Rink.
Christina Potters Outdoor Rink, Ketchum – This naturally frozen rink located in the shadow of Bald Mountain is reportedly the largest of its kind in the Pacific Northwest, measuring almost two acres. The rink is located in Atkinson Park and is usually operational through mid-February, weather permitting. The park recreation center is open daily except on holidays, where skates, helmets, hockey sticks, pucks, goals, broom ball, and balance assists are all free for public use. Call 208.726.7820 for more information.
Sandpoint City Beach or Sand Creek below the Cedar Street Bridge, Sandpoint – Conditions permitting, these are great skating spots along the shore of Lake Pend Oreille. Skaters also frequent the south end of Third Avenue where it terminates at the old pier. Contact the Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce for more information at 1.800.800.2106 or 208.263.2161.
Brush Lake Picnic Area and Smith Lake near Bonners Ferry and Robinson Lake Campground near Eastport are popular for ice skating. Bring your own skates, and contact the Panhandle National Forests Bonners Ferry Ranger District at 208.267.5561 to check road access and lake ice conditions.
Indoor Ice Skating Rinks
Ice skating and hockey are popular at Idaho IceWorld in Boise.
Idaho IceWorld, Boise – IceWorld has two regulation rinks, skate rentals, an arcade and sandwich and pizza restaurants. Large viewing windows let you keep an eye on the action while enjoying a snack (and keeping your toes warm). Public skate times are offered daily. Call 208.608.7716 for more information.
Manchester Ice & Events Centre, McCall – Located in the center of town, across the street from Payette Lake, the facility houses a regulation NHL sized hockey rink, grandstand and mezzanine seating and indoor and outdoor lake view dining at Skater Things Café. Manchester offers daily public skate times and rentals. Call 208.634.3570 for more information.
Joe Marmo/Wayne Lehto Ice Arena, Idaho Falls – Considered southeastern Idaho’s premier ice facility, the arena has a regulation ice surface, rental shop, snack bar, and locker room facilities. Contact the rink (208.612.8367) or recreation center (208.612.8480) for more information.
Kids of all ages enjoy time ice skating at the Palouse Ice Center.
Palouse Ice Rink, Moscow – Home to hockey teams and figure skating clubs, the Palouse Ice Rink is open for ice skating through early April. The three-quarter size ice sheet offers public skate times and rentals. Call the rink at 208.882.7188 for more information.
Frontier Ice Arena, Coeur d’Alene – Most public skating sessions range in duration from an hour to two hours in length and are held on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays with extra hours through New Year’s weekend. Concessions are open during public skating and skate rentals are available. Call 208.765.4423 for more information.
LC Arena, Lewiston – The practice site for the Washington State University hockey team, the LC Arena offers public skating on most days with skate rental and concessions. Call 208.798.7845 to confirm public skate times or check the online calendar.