Gliding effortlessly across the glimmering frozen water. A cool breeze in your face on a crisp winter day. Feeling exhilarated as you gently spin or push forward in a burst of speed. For many people in the Fox Valley, ice skating is an enjoyable winter activity that provides hours of outdoor fun and exercise.
With a few tips about selecting your gear, where to find ice rinks, and how to get started ice skating, anyone can have a great time participating in this entertaining Wisconsin winter pastime.
First things first: Dress for the weather.
- Dress in layers. Layers help increase enjoyment. Too warm? Take something off. Too cold? Put it back on.
- Selecting a good pair of socks is really important. Find a pair that will keep your feet nice and warm, but no so bulky that it makes putting on your ice skates especially difficult. If your ice skates get too tight they can cut off the circulation to your toes, making your feet cold and uncomfortable.
- Don’t forget spare hats, mittens, and scarves. If one of these gets damp, it is nice to be able to quickly replace them.
Next, it’s time to choose ice skates.
Figure skates or hockey skates? Although the way you skate is slightly different between figure skates and hockey skates, both skates are fairly similar to use. Both come in double blade style which can be helpful for kids for their first tries. Which type you choose really just depends on what type of skating you want to do and what type of skate you think you will be more comfortable wearing. Either way, make sure to lace them up tight to help support your ankles. Sometimes, it helps if someone else can help tie them for you. Some skating spots will have skates on hand to rent, check details before heading out!
- Figure skates get their name because they are often used in figure skating like what you might see in the Olympics.
- Have a toe pick (row of tiny spikes) on the front that helps with spinning and jumping.
- Back comes to a dull point.
- Mostly used for playing hockey
- No toe pick
- Smooth and rounded on the front and back
Local Spots to Buy Skates
- Play it Again Sports
Indoor Ice Skating
- Appleton Family Ice Center
1717 E. Witzke Boulevard, Appleton, Wisconsin
- Tri-County Ice Arena
700 E. Shady Lane, Neenah, Wisconsin
- DePere Ice Arena
1450 Ft.Howard Dr, DePere, Wisconsin
- Cornerstone Community Center
1640 Fernando Dr, DePere, Wisconsin
- Oshkosh YMCA
3303 West 20th Ave
Outdoor Ice Skating
- Memorial Park
1717 E. Witzke Blvd
- Colony Oaks Park
801 N. Briarcliff Dr.
- Erb Park
1800 N. Morrison St.
- Highview Park
100 W Wayfarer Ln.
- Pierce Park
1035 W Prospect Ave.
- Jones Park
Closed this year from construction.
- Jennerjohn Park
W6750 Rickey Ln, Greenville
- Fristch Park
1651 Sandys Ln, Menasha
- Washington Park
631 W. Winneconne Ave.
- Green Park
337 Columbian Ave.
- Memorial Park
1175 Appleblossom Dr.
- Hart Park
700 7th St.
- Menominee Park
520 Pratt Trail
- Horan’s On Main, Community Ice Rink
(free skates to use, warming shelter)
Main St, Omro
Also, if you are fortunate enough to know someone who lives on a larger body of water such as Lake Winnebago, you may be able to skate there if the ice is thick enough. Make sure to ask someone who knows if it is safe before going out on frozen lakes and ponds.
Hit the Ice
Now that you are bundled up and have found an ice rink, let’s talk about how to ice skate.
- Start slow.
- Hold on to something if you can! Some spots have trainers or just touch a wall.
- Bend your knees slightly.
- Use your arms for balance.
- Push feet out and slightly back, keeping your weight centered.
- Forward movement will feel more steady than stillness.
- Going to fall? Forward or to the side can hurt less than backward. Falling into snow is the least hurtful option when available!
- Helmets on for safety!
Once you really get the hang of it, you can try more difficult things like spinning, sharp turns, backwards skating or just going fast. If you have a group of friends, you can play games like tag or ice hockey. Just remember to be safe and courteous to everyone else using the ice rink. Most importantly, have fun! Outdoor ice skating is only possible for a few months every year, so make the most of it and enjoy this thrilling activity.
Some of our other Favorite Winter Activities
Note: This article includes affiliate links. Products purchased through these affiliates helps bring you this awesome content!
Thanks to our guest writer, Steve Freund.