“It was very much like Norman Rockwell: small town America. We walked to school or rode our bikes, stopped at the penny candy store on the way home from school, skated on the pond.” ~ Dorothy Hamill
It is no secret that I am a skater girl. Of course not by Avril Lavigne’s definition, of which, I would surely kill myself on. No, I am talking the other version, that MOST of the human population worries about killing THEMSELVES on; Ice skating. I have been a skater pretty much my whole life, and while I no longer do it as frequently as I like, not to mention my days of jumping feel more like a scary dream, then an actual possibility…unless I want to break something, I still love to lace up my skates and go toepicking whenever I can.
COVID has definitely made that difficult, with the closing of rinks and having to plan ahead, by making reservations if you go. And while yes a lot more outdoor rinks have popped up this year, even those have restrictions and requirements, which is why lake skating is so much fun. It is just you (and friends, safety first!) on the ice, in nature. It literally is back to basics.
Lake Skating and Safety Tips
Not going to lie, lake (any outdoor rink) skating is horrible on your blades, but there is nothing better then skating outside amongst the trees and mountains. And I write this after skating outside with skyscrapers surrounding me for seven years. (Hey, Bryant Park I do really miss you!) There is a peacefulness, an openness, as you skate across the lake, hearing the albite sometimes eery sounds of nature, like the ice expanding which IS normal.
It is also a novelty. There are no zambonis to clean the ice and make it fresh, and the time between a crystal blue lake and a snow covered one is so slim. There are also risks when skating on a lake that you have to be aware of, mainly thin ice, which is a very real possibility even when it is single digit temps.
A good skating surface takes about three weeks to freeze (give or take) at consistent below freezing temps. And surprisingly, you don’t want ice the bright white color of man made rinks. Good thick skating ice, is actually a stunningly gorgeous blue color. If it is white, it usually means air bubbles have gotten in and there is a greater chance that it will crack and you could fall in. You want ice to be at least three inches thick, and while bringing a drill is usually a good idea, throwing a heavy rock is also a great idea to see how well the ice holds up. A flotation device and ice picks are also a great idea. And you NEVER want to skate alone.
Pfft now that Mama Kate has done her due diligence, because safety first friends, let me tell you but my favorite lake for skating.
Echo Lake, which is located in the White Mountains, has all the nostalgia of childhood as we use to go there and we now take the next generation there as well. Not just for swimming in the summer, but now that my nephews play hockey, to get a few extra training practices in. It is a small lake, that isn’t to deep and freezes relatively quickly, which makes it a prime skating spot especially early in the season. It is fleeting, because if you blink, you might miss your chance to skate on it, as snow does pile up, and I admit I am not such a hardcore skater that I will shovel it off like I now some friends who adore lake skating do.
While I know a lot of people who skate there. It is usually quiet when I go (with family or friends!) and we end up having the lake to ourself. It feels so majestic skating skating beneath Cathedral Ledge with mountains and trees surrounding the lake. It truly is so peaceful and there is nothing like it.
I actually have several lakes on my bucket list, like Lake Louise in Banff, or honestly ANY lake in Banff, that I would love to skate on. In my “Old age,” I have definitely become more cautious, but there is nothing like doing footwork and seeing the marks from my blades etched into the ice like frozen art. It truly is peace, and not even the cold bothers me.
Have you ever ice skated? Have you ever skated on a lake? Do you like lake Skating?