Right before that first big freeze and when the massive expanse of land is coated in a sheet of white is the best time to lace up the ice skates in Alaska. There are several indoor arenas in the state that offer year-round use. But to get the true experience, you must step outside. Keep your eyes on the forecast and get ready to explore magnificent remote lakes on the outskirts of major cities, or maybe head inside for an ice skating lesson or two. Whether it’s backcountry or backyards, Alaska has what you’re looking for. Here are the 10 best ice skating rinks in the state.
Hot-mopping on this lake is done often twice weekly by the non-profit, volunteer Anchorage Speed Skating club, and the facility here is one of the only full-size outdoor speed skating rinks in the country. Whether you’re training or learning, with hockey skates or full-carbon speed skates, this oval is open for everyone. Joining the Speed Skating Club, or donating, is highly recommended.
This natural lake in Anchorage is home to one of the best spots in town to enjoy the 6 p.m. winter sunsets, and the ice is mopped weekly by the municipality.
Here’s where the real highlight of ice skating in Alaska lies: this series of frozen lake loops, ranging from 5-16 miles, provides endless hours of entertainment for the casual skater to the rugged backcountry athlete. Skate across mile-long lakes, then hike to the next via well-worn and marked trails for a multi-sport adventure day on the ice. Keep in mind: the ice is not mopped or maintained, so be prepared for every condition, not the least of which is thin ice!
Another lake kept up by the City of Anchorage, this is a great place to take the family. The ice is open and free to use, it is regularly hot-mopped, and the surroundings are as beautiful as you could ask for from a day out in Alaska.
This backcountry lake ice is not maintained, but that does nothing but help its rugged, remote feel. Near the sleepy town of Healy, Alaska, you’ll have options for a place to stay if you’re visiting, and a hearty meal after a big day of exploring.
A beautiful lake located under the massive Alaska Range peaks. Pack the family and skates in the car, head up to Healy and hope for a clear day, and you’ll be rewarded with some of the best views available in the entire country. But remember, this is remote ice skating, and though the ice might be mopped by industrious locals, it is not officially maintained!
Regularly hot-mopped and maintained by a mix of the municipality of Anchorage and the university, this resource for locals and students is a great way to get out between classes, or enjoy the feel of a forested lake with incomparable ease of access.
Maintained by the city of Fairbanks, this complex is a public use arena for figure skating, pick-up hockey and everything else, from training to casual recreation.
Indoor ice skating and hockey is the name of the game here in Fairbanks! If you’re looking for a pick-up game, or to join a league, or just to enjoy a couple hours of great exercise, this is one of several places in Alaska Interior to do it.
The crown jewels of Alaska sports, these areas provide an unforgettable lifetime experience for those with the ability to access them. Have a friend with a plane? Are you already planning to stay at a remote lodge in the early season before the big snow falls? Then make sure you don’t forget to pack skates. You’ll never forget your experience on impeccable lakes located hundreds of miles away from the nearest cities.