Skate Right Through a NL Winter

Hollett_skating 2020

Meghan Hollett, CCNL’s Programs Coordinator, makes the most of winter by heading outside to skate. In this post, Meghan shares some spots to try out skating (indoors and outdoors), gear suggestions, and why skating is a great, socially-distanced way to hang with friends and neighbours.

Why Skate?

When I’m out skating during St. John’s winters, I’m happy to see folks of all ages enjoying the activity! There’s certainly no age limit and it’s always invigorating to see young children giving it their all and putting everything into zipping along the ice. It’s a great reminder to put your whole heart into things and just try! (Ok, maybe not all things, if it’s going to cause you to break a limb / if you’ve already got weak ankles, maybe reconsider!).

Outdoor vs Indoor Skating

Indoor Skating…

  • Free!
  • A great way to get some fresh air.
  • View your surroundings with a new lens.

Outdoor Skating…

  • Warmer conditions.
  • Bathrooms are never far away.
  • Smooth ice provides a great place to learn!

Skating is enjoyed by people across the province. For folks living in rural areas, you may be lucky to find a nearby pond that is suitable for skating. Make sure to check that the ice is clear and thick enough to skate on. City-groomed skating loops or outdoor rinks are another option if you’re inclined to head outside. Indoor rinks can be a great way to try skating if the weather isn’t suitable outdoors.

Where to Skate

If you’re living in St. John’s, you can visit The Loop at downtown’s Bannermark Park. With the current pandemic restrictions, The Loop looks a little different than in previous years; a maximum of 40 people are allowed on the loop at a time, including skaters and spectators. The surface is cleared multiple times per day (1-2 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday inclusive, plus an additional 4-5 p.m. Friday to Monday inclusive). The Loop is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., with entry on the hour.

If you live in Mt Pearl, they have recently added 4 neighbourhood rinks that are being taken care of by nearby volunteers and sporting associations. These outdoor rinks are open to anybody, from anywhere! 

For people living in other urban areas of the province, many local indoor rinks offer public skating hours. Public skating hours allow people to benefit from amazing ice conditions (a zamboni sure can make a smooth surface!). Most indoor rinks require skaters to bring a helmet. 

Get the Gear

Finding skates can be a barrier to enjoying this Canadian winter activity. Some tricks of the trade? In the off season, keep an eye out for second-hand sales online on platforms like Facebook or Kijiji. 

You can also purchase a pair of skates from a second hand shop like Play It Again Sports. Play It Again allows folks to trade in used items and give them a second life for somebody else! It doesn’t get more environmentally friendly. Plus, if you buy a pair of skates at Play It Again and use them only a few times, you can return your skates and still get some money back for the trade.

Hit the Ice

If you have a hard time finding time for this exercise, consider popping in some headphones and listening to a podcast or audiobook. Haven’t spoken to your friend lately? Make that call while you’re gliding around!

One final thought: Invite people who maybe haven’t skated before. Invite folks who are new to your community! Skating is such a quintessential Canadian activity and everybody deserves a chance to try. Lend somebody your skates, borrow from others, and hold their hand. I bet you’ll help make some amazing memories!

How do you get outdoors? From summer hikes to winter skiing, we want to hear about the way you enjoy NL throughout the year. Email us to chat!

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