Ice Rinks of Grand County
When you live in a winter place you have to find activities you love outside to make it through the winter. Inspired by Sally DiSciullo’s photos of the building of the Hot Sulphur Springs ice skating rink and how a community built an ice rink, I bought ice skates and decided to skate on every Grand County ice rink.
It seemed like 100 years since I put on skates; definitely three decades since being on ice. When I laced up my brand new, white figure skates for the first time at the IceBox in Fraser and stepped on the ice, I couldn’t believe how long it took me to feel comfortable on the ice. I stumbled, hoping no one was watching, and skated around 20 laps on the NHL-sized rink with views of the mountains. Now, two weeks later after skating on most of the rinks listed below, it is such a thrilling feeling to skate backwards, spin and just cruise around the rinks. The thrill is different from skiing fast down a ski slope but still fun and exciting, especially after becoming more confident. I hope to keep skating throughout the winter and become more graceful on the ice.
Here is the Grand County guide to ice rinks with information and photos.
Cooper Creek Square. Located in downtown Winter Park next to the parking garage, the ice rink is free and conveniently located close to restaurants and coffee shops. Ice skate rentals are available at Christy Sports in Cooper Creek Square for $5 per hour. They offer skate sharpening services, too. The rink has lights and I’m sure it would be great to skate during the evening, however I skated on the rink during the day. The Town of Winter Park maintains the rink using a Zamboni pulled by a tractor to resurface the ice once or twice a week as needed.
Winter Park Resort
The Village Ice Rink is located next to Starbucks and is free to everyone. It is a beautiful outdoor rink with views of the Continental Divide. The downside of the open area rink is when temperature hit 40 degrees or higher they close the rink. I happened to be there when temperatures were over 40 degrees on Wednesday so I was unable to skate. On the weekends the resort offers ice skating lessons at 4 p.m.
IceBox Ice Rink
Highlights of the ice skating rinks include skate sharpening services, friendly staff, NHL-size rink, an online schedule, organized hockey teams, and great views of the mountains. There is a small fee to skate.
YMCA of the Rockies has an ice skating rink under a pavilion and what an amazing view. The Legett Youth and Family Pavilion is located next to the Nordic Center. It is free to members. No hockey games are ever scheduled so it’s free skate all the time. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Day pass prices: adults $20, children (6-12) $10, children under 5 are free.
Devil’s Thumb Ranch Pavilion Ice Rink is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The cost is $10 for the pavilion pass to use the rink and $6 for ice skate rentals. There are gorgeous views of the mountains and just being at the ranch is relaxing.
The ice rink is located in Grand Lake Town Park. The ice rink is free and well maintained by the town. It is open every day during daylight hours. Skate rentals are free at Rocky Mountain Outfitters from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. When I was there last weekend I met a father and his two sons playing hockey. They were having so much fun I didn’t want to interrupt by skating so I just took a picture. There are spectacular views of the mountains and lake from the rink.
Hot Sulphur Springs
The Town Park rink is located on the north side of town. On the day I skated on the rink there was not a soul around, however I have been told the rink is very popular with the local kids. The rink is free and open to everyone. There are great mountain views in every direction.
The Chuck Lewis Hockey Rink is maintained by the volunteers of the Kremmling Cattle Kings Youth Hockey Club. Skating is free to the public and is open any time the rink is not being used for practices or games. Typically the practices are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and games are on the weekend.
I arrived to skate on Wednesday afternoon just as volunteer, Eric Guthrie had finished resurfacing the ice with a Zamboni. He will run the Zamboni on the days before the kids practice or before a game, he said. I timed my arrival perfectly and skated on the most perfect ice surface; not one flaw on the ice. With amazing views of Red Mountain and blue skies, on the larger-than-NHL regulation rink, it was a great place to skate.
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Due to current public health guidance, there will not be an in-person wilderness campsite lottery for Rocky Mountain National Park this year.