Outdoor Ice Skating

There are several places to skate in Banff, from our stunning recreation centre, The Fenlands, to man-made and natural outdoor rinks, all with uniquely spectacular vistas. Ice skate rentals are available in town.

Locations

  • The Waldhaus at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.
  • The Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre offers indoor Visit skating for details, or call 403.762.1235 for information on times and cost. Skate rentals are available.
  • Snow Days Ice Rink on Banff Avenue at the Banff High School field. (Typically opens in late December if cold enough)
  • Lake Louise behind the Chateau Lake Louise.
  • When conditions permit, an oval is cleared for skating on the Bow River. Note that this is not a maintained rink, and that river flow may impact the ice's thickness from day to day.
  • Other natural outdoor ice surfaces include 40 Mile Creek to Vermilion Lakes, Two Jack Lake and Lake Minnewanka.
Skating

Safety

Natural ice skating areas are not maintained or patrolled. Skate at your own risk. Visit the Parks Canada website for info on skating on ponds, lakes and rivers.

Measure ice thickness in several locations

Local conditions such as currents and water depths can affect ice thickness. Consult knowledgeable local individuals. White ice has air or snow within it and should be considered suspect for recreational use.

Recommendations for ice thickness are based on clear, blue or green ice:
3 inches (7 centimetres) or less STAY OFF
4 inches (10 centimetres) ice fishing, walking, cross country skiing
5 inches (12 centimetres) one snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle(ATV)
8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 centimetres) one car or small pickup truck
12 to 15 inches (30 to 38 centimetres) one medium truck (pickup or van)

Avoid traveling on ice at night

At night it is very difficult to see open holes in the ice. This is a frequent cause of snowmobile drownings.

Never go onto ice alone

A buddy may be able to rescue you or go for help if you get into difficulty. Before you leave shore, tell someone where you are going and expected time of return.

Avoid alcohol

Alcohol impairs your judgment and speeds up the development of hypothermia.

Always supervise children playing on or near ice

Insist that they wear a life jacket/personal flotation device (PFD) or thermal protection buoyant suit.

Get more safety tips from the Canadian Red Cross