Henry and I are both pretty active. We love snowboarding but both only really have free time at the weekend to go, and then we have to pay a sitter to have Rocket. That all adds up and a day snowboarding without a season pass can cost a fortune. This year we are going to make more time for it and when Henry has a day off in the week I’m going to try and take some days off to go with him while Rocket is in day care.
That being said there are far more out door activities to do in Canmore in the winter then just ride! This year we are taking up ice skating! Neither of us have really done much skating in the past. My brother is an excellent skater and even played hockey for a London team. This gives me even more incentive to learn so when he finally comes out to visit, I can keep up with him on the ice.
Ice skating seems like a good choice for us. We are far more likely to find an hour or so to go hit up the ice before we pick Rocket up at the end of the day then taking a whole day to go snowboarding up at Sunshine.
There are A LOT of options for skating here. You can obviously go to the designated skating rinks. These are there all year round indoor and then they convert the public courts to ice in the winter. Super safe and easy to access but also can be very busy. So far this season we have decided to take the wild ice option.
Alberta and BC are flooded with lakes, ponds and rivers so you have so much choice on places to go. Obviously, you need to be safe and have a good idea of the thickness of the ice. Usually, a good indication is if there is someone else on it! (duh!) The smaller ponds tend to freeze more solid so if you are here in the summer and get to know the area you should try and remember those good spots. Some lakes can seem pretty solid but there can be open water around the edges, so just try and remember this when you’re out and about.
Henry worked up at Silver Tip golf course in the summer so he knew all the ponds on the course. If you’re lucky someone will have already cleared the snow off the top giving you space to skate, otherwise, take a shovel and expect to put in some hard work before you start.
Neither of us are good skaters (yet!) but I can’t wait to find time this winter to get out on the ice with my man and learn a new sport. One day when Rocket is at school, he will likely be playing hockey and it will be nice if his ol’ mum and dad can get out on the ice and knock a puck around with him! We have got Rocket some training skates, although i still think he’s a little small to go on an actual rink. We did test them out on a big frozen puddle and he LOVED it! You can buy adjustable training skates with two blades on the bottom that strap over their boots. A great place to start, and can be picked up fairly cheap. You can also buy training frames for them to push on the ice. We haven’t gone that far yet as it’s nice to have something that is just for us for now. Plus neither of us are confident enough to be able to watch Rocket at the same time. But i would like to think that by the end of the winter we may get the boy out there for a “scoot”
If you’re heading to the area then popular places in the winter are Johnson Lake, Two Jacks Lake, Lac Des Arcs, Gap Lake…. I could go on. But there is also the pond in Canmore town, and a small rink they set up near the Nordic center. All these spots can get pretty busy, so if your heading in at the weekend expect crowds.
If you want a quiet spot then cascade pond on the way to Banff was beautiful, Most people drive straight past it to two jacks but we stopped here and it was stunning. The ponds up at Silver Tip have an amazing view and practically no people as well.
There is a “Wild Ice” facebook group for locals to share information on the ice conditions so if you do live in town then they are well worth joining. But they are pretty strict on only locals in the group.
When I have finally found my confident feet and some more spots to wild ice skate then I will be back to share more. Can’t wait to get back out there!