Header photo courtesy @lindsayhsomers
We all know that The Forks is the place everyone goes to get their skate on. And for good reason! It’s at the most visited spot in the city, and that’s by locals and tourists alike. It’s one of the longest and best-maintained skating trails in the country, we daresay the world (actually that’s a fact, not just my humble opinion). Not to mention, there are attractions along the trail like the designer warming huts, where you can stop and catch your breath, or snap that perfect selfie. But we all know that the Red River Mutual River Trail at The Forks can be hopping and if you’re anything like me and can’t skate to save your life, you’d probably prefer somewhere that seems a little less intimidating and a little more intimate to spread those proverbially novice wings. We’ve already given you the No. 1 spot for skating in Manitoba. Here are 9 more.
FortWhyte Alive’s outdoor skating experience is not a new one, but it is one that doesn’t require you to go too far away from home if you’re a city dweller, yet still takes you into the outdoors with that sense of being away from it all. Skate the rink or the 1.5 km loop that winds across two frozen lakes.
Hecla Lakeview Resort
Hecla Lakeview Resort is the perfect spot for a winter getaway. The hotel maintains a host of activities during the winter designed to keep those blues at bay. One of those activities happens to be skating the pond at the resort. Don’t forget to pack your skates on your weekend getaway to this wintry wonderland.
Riding Mountain National Park
Intimate may not be the first thing that comes to mind in the grand expanse of Riding Mountain Provincial Park, but we promise that this is as good as rinks gets and the path to the rink is equally appealing. This outdoor rink is located behind the Visitor Centre. Get ready for an enchanting little trek on a trail through the forests illuminated by twinkle lights.
Admittedly, this trail may not be the easiest to the novice skater, but how could we justify leaving it off this list?! So, for the novice who likes a challenge, go no farther than Octopus Lake in Onanole, where a few outdoor enthusiasts decided to one-up the average rink with a skating maze. While the group did not necessarily set out to create some mind-blowing design in the ice, they somehow managed to do it anyway with a maze that bears some resemblance to a bison.
Brandon Skating Oval
Brandon keeps finding ways to ensure you get out and enjoy winter, and one of the best spots for doing that is at the Skating Oval. If you’ve been hibernating all winter long, a trip to this rink will change that mindset with the warmth of its fire pits and ambient music that the entire family can enjoy. The rink is well lit, inviting skaters to stay to as late as 11 p.m. when the party finally shuts down each night.
Portage la Prairie residents are proud of Crescent Lake and that pride extends into the winter season when the lake freezes over and the town comes out to enjoy their surroundings in a completely different way. This year, the skate path may only be 1 km long, but the skating is still as good with even a few hockey rinks and curling lanes added for extra fun.
The three city duck ponds
Because The Forks is such a popular spot, city dwellers often forget about the duck ponds, but they’re definitely worth a visit! Here are three great ones to check out!
Assiniboine Park’s Riley Family Duck Pond is the perfect family skating spot, equipped with accessible washrooms, picnic tables, rubber mats and a toasty fireplace. How can you beat a toasty fireplace?!
St. Vital Park
Open to the public 12 hours each day, St. Vital Park’s Duck Pond is set within the 46 hectares of the park and includes warm-up and shelter areas.
Nothing sets the mood like the perfect lighting. And Kildonan Park has caught on to the trend. The park recently commissioned artist Devi Sharma to bring some artistic lighting to the space. The resulting installation is Bokeh and not to mention some very appreciative skaters.