We’re in month 11 of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of us are still not going many places outside our homes because our public indoor entertainment options are limited. Now that we’re well into winter, I bet you’ve exhausted every possible sledding hill in your area. Your kids have constructed 3,874 snowmen and snow animals and 5,262 snow angels and have possibly ventured into the realm of snow volcanoes. They have built large snow forts, igloos, and castles, and had snowball fights at least once a week since late December. Your family has snowshoed, cross country skied, and may have even downhill skied or snowboarded. But have you ice skated this year?
With every indoor ice rink in the area closed for public skating due to Covid, towns and town recreation departments are working hard to set up new outdoor ice skating rinks and maintain their existing ones.
Below, I’ve compiled a list of many outdoor ice skating rinks throughout Vermont. While I am sure it doesn’t include every outdoor ice rink in Vermont, it should allow you to get started! And if you know of somewhere I haven’t included, let me know in the comments and we can add it in!
Please note that, before you make plans to visit any of these outdoor skating rinks, you should always check the associated Facebook or town page linked below to:
- Make sure the rink is currently open.
If the rink requires maintenance or if the temperatures are not favorable to keep the ice frozen, rinks may close temporarily or ‘until further notice’ to ensure public safety. In addition, rinks are not open 24/7 and have operational schedules. Some rinks have lights for evening skating and some reserve time for lessons, stick and puck time only, etc. Plan your skate time accordingly.
- Be aware of the Covid-19 restrictions.
All of the outdoor ice skating rinks require anyone using them to wear a mask and also recommend paying careful attention to social distancing. However, some rinks are limiting use to only town residents and many of these outdoor rinks also have a maximum capacity; they ask that only so many people are on the ice at one time to meet distancing requirements that prevent the spread of germs. Be prepared to be calm, courteous, and take turns with others using the rink, if needed.
Other more obvious things you should do before venturing out to find an outdoor ice skating rink include:
- Making sure you’re aware of the temperature forecasted for when you’re planning to skate. Yes, we all should know this, BUT, I know I’ve seen people out ice skating who didn’t prepare fully for how cold it was, especially those new to Vermont. As always, wear layers and you can always take a layer off if you’re hot and put it back on when you get cold.
- Stopping at a store to buy or rent skates if you don’t have a functioning pair. It is rare that outdoor rinks offer skate rentals. In addition to box stores, Facebook Marketplace, Play it Again Sports in South Burlington, and Kevin Smith’s in South Burlington are great places to look for skates for you and your children if you need to purchase any. Thygesen Sports in Barre offers skate rentals, which is perfect if you have never tried skating before and want to make sure you enjoy it before purchasing a pair.
- Packing or wearing a good pair of kneesocks for under those skates for each member of the family. I encourage my own kids to wear soccer socks under ice skates, as it has been my experience that they have less chance of getting a blister from rubbing leather or plastic when they do.
- Using helmets. While they may not be required, wearing one for your protection is never a bad idea. Many indoor rinks recommend or require children to wear helmets, and there is no reason not to consider having them wear one on an outdoor rink.
Now, get ready to lace up and head to one of these Vermont outdoor ice skating rinks!
Burlington Parks and Recreation sets up and maintains many outdoor ice rinks for skating enthusiasts. Locations include:
- Battery Park
- Calahan Park
- Lakeside Park
- Roosevelt Park
- Starr Farm Park.
- Arthur Park (Sea Cave) has a skating pond.
I have also heard that there are a couple of rinks over by Christ the King School in Burlington, so you have even a couple more options; check them out!
The Charlotte Vermont Public Ice Rink is located at Charlotte Central School and is run by public volunteers.
Important information: Skating is available in the evenings, but evening hours vary depending on when the volunteers are able to plow and/or resurface the ice so definitely check out their Facebook page for updates here.
Colchester Parks and Recreation upkeep the outdoor rink(s) at Airport Park.
Important information: You can skate in the evenings there, too! There are solar-powered lights that stay on until 9 pm.
Sand Hill Park is the home of Essex’s outdoor rink.
Important information: There are lights for evening skating.
There is an ice rink at the Wainer Community Playground and Park near the tennis courts.
Important information: There is currently no town or Facebook page that updates conditions, so you’ll have to go check it out for yourself or try calling the Town if you have questions or concerns.
There is an outdoor ice rink in Milton’s Bombardier Park.
Important information: There is evening skating; there are lights that can be activated that are on a 60-minute timer.
The rink at Richmond’s Volunteers Green is set up and maintained by volunteers.
Important information: The rink is generally open from January to March when the weather allows. They do have lights for evening skating. Updates can be found here.
The Town of Shelburne has an outdoor skating rink in Hullcrest Park.
Important information: If you have questions, there is contact information here.
South Burlington High School has recently set up an outdoor ice skating rink on their premises for their students’ physical education classes. They would like to open it up to the public for the future.
Important information: It’s not open to the public… yet. But stay tuned!
There is an outdoor skating rink in Underhill’s Moore Park.
Important information: The rink is lit for evening skating. Check the Underhill Recreation Committee’s Facebook page for frequent updates.
There is an outdoor ice skating rink at Westford’s Town Common.
Important information: Generally, it is open from 8 am-10 pm most days, only closing for recreation programs on Tuesdays from 3-5:30 and Wednesdays from 8 pm-9:30 pm. The status of the rink is often updated on Westford Recreation’s Facebook page.
Williston Recreation and Parks’ outdoor ice skating rink is located in the Williston Community Park behind Williston Elementary School.
Important information: When the rink is open, its hours are: dawn to 9:30 pm. There are lights you can activate by pushing a button during the evening hours that are on a timer until 9:30 pm. You can find out more here.
Winooski’s Rotary Park is the home to a popular outdoor ice skating rink.
Important information: Rotary Park is open from dawn to dusk. Find out more here.
The Bristol Recreation Club upkeeps an outdoor skating rink at the Mount Abraham Union Middle/High School.
Important information: Specifics can be found on the Bristol Recreation Department Facebook page.
The outdoor ice skating rink in Vergennes is in Veterans’ Memorial Park.
Important information: According to the Vergennes Parks and Recreation website, the rink is open, conditions permitting, from 3 pm to 9 pm on weekdays and from 8 am-9 pm on weekends and school vacations. The rink status is updated here.
The home of the Town of Fairfax Parks and Recreation Department’s rink is at the Fairfax Community Park on Hunt Street.
Important information: They are currently limiting the number of skaters on the ice to 7 at a time.
Skate rentals: They are working on starting a skate borrowing program. It doesn’t look to be up and running currently, but calling the Fairfax Parks and Recreation Department and asking may not be a bad idea.
There is an outdoor rink next to the Nordic Ski & Snowshoe Adventure Center at Smuggler’s Notch.
Important information: They are open from 9 am to 8 pm as long as weather and rink conditions permit. Skating is $5.00 per person unless you have a SmuggsPass or if you have a Club Smuggs Package (in which outdoor skating is already included so you can skate at no extra charge). They have skate sharpening available too.
Skate Rental: You can rent skates for a $5.00 fee.
The skating rink in Proctor is at 33 Olympus Road.
Important information: Proctor updates rink closures on their Facebook page here.
The North Barre Rink on Treatment Plant Drive is open for the season!
Important information: Rink hours are 8 am-9 pm when conditions allow. Rink updates can be found on Facebook.
The Rink at State Street in the Capitol Plaza is open for the season!
Important information: Hockey and broomball are not permitted. Hours vary by day. All of the details can be found in the ‘About’ section of their Facebook page.
There is an outdoor skating rink at Waterbury’s Anderson Fields.
Important information: The rink’s regular hours are 8 am to 10 pm, with evening lights coming on at 5 but switching off promptly at 10.