Ice skating in New Hampshire is an ideal winter outdoor activity! It provides an excellent workout, requires minimal investment, is great for all ages and is not difficult to learn. When the temperature dwindles close to freezing, freshwater lakes and ponds that had once been ideal places for fishing suddenly become beautiful frozen expanses for ice skating.
A brief history
The origins of ice skating are not precisely known. However, it was brought to the Americas as a winter pastime sport during the mid 1700s. Unlike skiing or other forms of winter entertainment, ice skaters simply needed a pair of skates and warm clothing. The Dutch originally used wooden platforms with crude iron runners attached to the bottom. Here around Lake Winnipesaukee, animal bones have been discovered that were once sharpened and attached to shoes for ice skating. It was not only used a means of entertainment, but also as a form of transportation across lakes and other bodies of water during the winter season.
Is it difficult to learn?
Ice skating may seem daunting, but it is actually relatively easy to learn with practice. To begin, you must make sure that your ice skates are laced properly. If the skate is too loose, you could run the risk of twisting your ankle. Also, if this is your first time, be mentally prepared for the fact that you will fall. To make this easier, practice falling backward instead of forward to help prevent injury. Many first timers are reluctant to move away from the outer margins of the rink where there may be a bar or railing of some kind. Yet, the sooner you move away from the rail, the sooner you will be able to skate well on your own. For some additional help on the basics of ice skating, follow this link: How to Ice Skate
What do I need to wear?
As with most winter outdoors activities, you should definitely dress in warm layers so you can adjust your comfort level as you skate. It is also advised to wear clothing that is less absorbent as you may be falling often. Jeans are an example of what NOT to wear when ice skating. Warm, water-proof gloves are also a good choice. Unless you own your own ice skates, you will need to bring those as well. Many ice skating rinks, even the outdoors options, offer ice skate rentals for a minimum charge per day. If you find that you want to ice skate often, you can always purchase your own pair. Here is a link for outdoor apparel to get you started: New Hampshire Gear Shop
Where can I ice skate outdoors in New Hampshire?
There are several outdoor skating rinks to visit in New Hampshire. Here is a short list:
Bow Town Pond next to the Bow Community Center in Bow, NH
Dorrs Pond adjacent to Livingston Park in Manchester, NH
Merrill Park ice skating in Concord, NH
Nestlenook Victorian Skating Park, Jackson, NH
Mount Washington Resort Skating Rink, Bretton Woods, NH
Occom Pond in Hannover, NH
Beaver Meadow Golf Course, Rollins Park, and White Park in Concord, NH
The Tohko Dome Skating Rink at King Pine Purity Spring Resort, New Madison, NH
For additional options, please check out this link: Ice Skating Rinks New Hampshire
Technically, you can skate on frozen ponds and lakes around New Hampshire during the winter, but it is generally less safe than skating in a monitored setting. If you do choose to ice skate in one of these locations, please bear in mind that the ice needs to be at least four inches thick, cannot have any cracks, fissures, wet or slushy spots, or abnormal surfaces and the temperature must be below freezing. Also, never skate alone.
Is ice skating safe for young children?
Yes! It is great for the whole family. Children learn faster when they are young and will develop a keener sense of the sport as they grow older and practice more often. Young children, of course, would need to be supervised while wearing the ice skates.
How expensive is it?
Skate rentals and admissions are typically inexpensive. Skate rentals can be anywhere from $7-$15 with general admission offered at around the same price. Buying your own skates can average anywhere between $25-$100. If you are looking to purchase some skates, feel free to check out this link for New Hampshire sporting goods: New Hampshire Sporting Goods