Colorado Explorer

Colorado Ice Skating
Photo by Jack Affleck

Ice-skating rinks

By Linda DuVal

Bundled skaters glide around an icy pond rimmed with snow-clad evergreens. In the background, a toasty fire warms those taking a break. There's ice skating to be had at most of Colorado's winter resorts, as well as in major cities along the Front Range.

In many places you can skate indoors, with no wind, no snowdrifts and no below-zero wind-chill factor. Or you can brave the elements, enjoy the scenery and warm up later with hot cocoa. Some rinks are free, but most charge a small fee. Here's where you can go skating in the mountains this winter.

The Aspen Ice Garden, a full-service ice arena, is a great place to throw a party, participate in a pick-up hockey game or just glide around for fun.

Dobson Ice Arena in Vail also is a full-service city rink. If you need to brush up on your technique, you can take ice-skating lessons here. In nearby Beaver Creek, an outdoor rink is open all day for your skating pleasure.

In Breckenridge, the locals head to Maggie Pond when they feel like testing their blades. It's open all day, weather permitting. For an indoor adventure, go to the Stephen C. West Arena, open year round with skating programs, camps, lessons and public sessions.

At Copper Mountain, the West Lake outdoor rink is set up for public skating most days, with skate rentals available nearby.

In Crested Butte, you can ride the free town shuttle to an outdoor rink at the Nordic Center. Rentals are available on site.

Keystone has what it claims to be the largest Zamboni-maintained outdoor rink in North America.

The Howelson Ice Arena in Steamboat Springs features an Olympic-sized sheet of ice and is open to the public with lessons, rentals and party space for rent.

Telluride offers several options. Skate to music at Mountain Village, where the skating pond is open daily from late December through February, depending on the weather. A crackling fire will keep you warm. Telluride Town Park has both an outdoor rink with a warming hut and the Andy Hanley Ice Rink/Pavilion.

If your winter plans don't take you to the mountains, there are indoor ice rinks in Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Pueblo, and several Denver suburbs. Try the outdoor rink at Fillmore Plaza near the Cherry Creek Mall in Denver. Or head up to Evergreen, just west of Denver, and skate on its scenic frozen lake. In Green Mountain Falls, up Ute Pass west of Colorado Springs, a small town lake also freezes for skating each year.

All you need is a pair of skates and a Michelle Kwan attitude.

Linda DuVal is former travel editor of The Gazette in Colorado Springs and a freelance writer.