From ice-skating locales with only sun-soaked winter skies and far-as-the-eye-can-see mountain views to urban and resort settings surrounded by busy shops and restaurants, Colorado’s outdoor ice rinks bring back-to-basics joy to this classic winter pastime.
Several Colorado State Parks have natural ponds that offer skating amid some of the state’s most scenic vistas, including Yampa River (Hayden), Golden Gate Canyon (Golden), Highline Lake (Fruita), Jackson Lake (Fort Morgan) and Eleven Mile (Lake George). When you’re done gliding around the pond, you’ll have the parks’ myriad other snow activities to choose from — snowshoeing, cross-county skiing, sledding or tubing, wildlife viewing and more. Check conditions with the individual parks before you head out.
Just north of the Swiss-inspired town of Ouray, the Rotary Park rink is surrounded by purple mountains majesty, and locals are known to drop in for impromptu hockey or broomball games. Though the rink features a small warming hut, a soak in the nearby 96- to 108-degree Ouray Hot Springs and Orvis Hot Springs pools will ward off the chill after you’ve spun your final figure eight.
The rink in Fort Collins’ popular historic Old Town is surrounded by the hustle and bustle of nearby shops and restaurants. After showing off your best moves to passersby, stop into one of the many Old Town pubs for a locally brewed post-skate winter ale.
The Crested Butte Nordic Center's rink is situated on the edge of this classic southwest-Colorado ski town. With 45 kilometers of groomed cross-country and snowshoe trails, a sledding hill, warming huts and winter photography workshops, the Nordic center provides the whole family with new ways to occupy snowy days.
Just west of Denver in Evergreen, 40-acre Evergreen Lake is a skating haven. This frozen destination includes a boardwalk for parents to watch their kids play on the ice, picnic areas and an easy hiking loop. The warming hut has snacks, warm beverages and a cozy fireplace.
As the largest Zamboni-maintained outdoor rink in North America, Keystone's Lakeside Village boasts a five-acre alpine lake kept in tip-top skating condition. In the shadow of Keystone Resort’s massive ski mountain, it’s also located in a setting postcards are made of.
The YMCA of the Rockies just outside of Estes Park offers outdoor ice skating surrounded by Rocky Mountain National Park’s dramatic snow-covered peaks. The YMCA’s inviting fireplaces welcome pink-cheeked skaters to relax with a mug of hot chocolate. For more winter fun, the facility also leads showshoe hikes through the park.
The 9,000-square-foot Black Family Ice Rink in Beaver Creek fits right in with the resort’s reputation for luxury. A Zamboni creates perfect ice conditions every three hours, lounges around the rink’s perimeter let parents supervise their skaters in comfort beneath heat lamps, hot cocoa and posh accommodations are just steps away, and lights around the rink in the evening give it a warm glow.
Winter Park Resort's new Village Ice Rink offers free lessons, rentals and views of the dramatic peaks of the Continental Divide.
Silver Circle Ice Rink in Aspen, on Durant Ave. across from Rubey Park (phone: 970-925-1710)
Photo: Black Family Ice Rink in Beaver Creek; photo by Jack Affleck for Beaver Creek Resort.