A favourite Canadian sport that is fun for all ages and abilities, ice skating in Banff and Lake Louise is a great way to enjoy the fresh mountain air with family and friends. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of your surroundings or maybe join in a game of pick-up, or “shinny” hockey. Then take a break and warm up with hot cocoa beside a bonfire before heading back out on the ice for more.
There are several indoor and outdoor ice skating rinks open during the winter in Banff National Park. All skating rinks are free unless otherwise noted, and skate rentals are available in both Banff and Lake Louise. While skating is generally available from mid-December to March, this activity is weather dependant so check with the Visitor Centre before you go.
For a traditional experience, head to The Waldhaus Rink in the Spray Meadow behind the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel. It’s a picture-perfect spot for skating, with a warming hut and open fire nearby. Have a snack at the German pub, located directly above the rink.
The well-equipped Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre offers indoor public skating and shinny year-round on two full hockey rinks. There is an entry fee to the rink.
The outdoor rink at Banff High School in downtown Banff is lit in the evenings. The skating rink typically opens mid-December.
In Lake Louise
For a truly spectacular skating experience, you must try the iconic Lake Louise. Named as one of the “10 most beautiful ice skating rinks in the world,” by CNN Travel, the frozen lake is cleared and maintained daily by the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and has a heated shelter to warm chilly fingers and toes.
An additional rink near the Nordic Stop on the shores of Lake Louise is open to hockey enthusiasts.
During the Ice Magic Festival each winter, ice carvers create a giant ice castle on the lake.
The Lake Louise Recreation Centre, located on Village Road, has a covered outdoor hockey and ice skating rink.
Other skating spots
Skating on lakes and ponds in Banff National Park might be available during the winter, depending on weather conditions and temperatures. Please consider the risks of skating on natural ice before heading out. See more information on ice safety from Parks Canada.