Winter can be a tough time of year! The days are shorter, the temperatures are colder. But one thing is for sure… there are still plenty of activities to keep you busy outdoors. Among them, ice skating! Sure, you can skate in an indoor rink, but there are destinations locally where you can take to the ice outdoors, and safely.

This year had been especially tough on a lot of us, with the pandemic forcing us to spend more time distanced from friends and family. Skating is a great activity to get you outside and keep your body moving. I have been skating since I learned how to walk and used to play ice hockey as a kid. One of my favorite activities, along with snowboarding, in the winter is pond hockey.

There are a few things you should know before you take to the ice.

If you are looking to skate on ponds or lakes, always check with local town officials or the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department — never go out onto any ice without first making sure the conditions are safe to do so. Keep in mind that the thickness of the ice is not always uniform across a body of water and you can seriously injure yourself if you are not careful. The ice can appear solid while still being dangerously thin!

If you are looking to skate on manmade outdoor ice rinks or groomed ponds to be a bit safer, there are several prime spots located right in New Hampshire:

  • Robin Hood Park in Keene
  • Occom Pond in Hanover
  • Dorrs Pond in Manchester
  • Puddle Dock Pond in Portsmouth
  • Nestlenook Farm in Jackson

If you are new to ice skating, there are a couple of things you will need to know! First, I am a firm believer in helmets. I know it might sound silly if you are just going out for a quick skate around the rink, but ice is hard and your brain is very important. Secondly, if you are unsure about how to skate, think about bringing along a friend or someone who has done it before to help you out. Again, ice is hard, and we are looking to avoid injury — after all, this activity is supposed to be fun! If you have ever tried roller blades, the motion is very similar. It just takes a bit of time to get used to the feeling of being on ice. My biggest concern when learning to ice skate was being afraid of falling and hitting the ice. Take your time and feel it out!

With all of that in mind I hope you consider grabbing a pair of skates and lacing up this winter! We are lucky enough to have a pond right here in Keene where you can test out your skills. Ice skating is great for all ages, too. While the kids are having fun, hopefully so are you. Hey, maybe it is even a possible date idea? Whatever it is that motivated you to get out on the ice… enjoy! Be safe and happy skating!