Among the many family activities available around the Whitefish Chain is ice skating, and there are several rinks to choose from. Each of them is free to use, and two even offer free skate rental! All these rinks are open and ready for skating!
The Crosslake skating rink is on a genuine pond next to the Crosslake Community Center. Park near the tennis courts and walk northwest from the community center. You'll see a stairway leading down to the pond where the rink is located. A light pole has a button for lights, though the lights automatically turn off at 8 p.m. Otherwise the rink is open pretty much any time.
Crosslake's rink is open and plowed, but as of Dec. 29 it had not yet been flooded. The rink is totally free to use, and while you're at the community center you can also check out the miles of cross-country ski trails and snowshoe trails. For the most up-to-date info on the status of the ice rink, call the community center at 218-692-4271. Restrooms are available in the community center during operating hours.
Nisswa has two skating rinks located right next to the community center just north of downtown. The larger of the two is a refrigerated rink that tends to be open longer than most other rinks in the area. The smaller rink is not refrigerated, but both are great fun. When both are open, the smaller rink is reserved for pleasure skating while the larger rink is for hockey. Both rinks are regularly resurfaced by a full-size Zamboni.
Nisswa’s rinks are both free to use, and skates that have been donated by the community are available to rent for free in the nearby warming hut, which offers a place to change into your skates, grab some hot chocolate, or warm up after skating. Rink hours sometimes change due to holidays or days that school is not in session, so it’s best to check the city’s website or the Nisswa Parks & Rec Facebook page for updates. Restrooms are available in the nearby Nisswa Community Center.
Nisswa rink hours through the holiday:
- Saturday, Dec. 30: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 31: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Monday, Jan. 1: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Normal hours (after the holiday weekend):
- Monday-Thursday, 3-8 p.m.
- Friday 3-9 p.m.
- Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Pine River offers an 85 x 200 foot ice rink that's open seven days a week, from sunrise until 10 p.m. It's well lit throughout the evening, and the lights go out automatically at 10. A general rink surrounds a hockey area.
There's a nice warming hut at the rink where you can warm up and change in and out of your skates, or take a break from the elements. The warming house is stocked with spare skates that area available for anyone to use. "Skate trainers" are also available for those just learning the ropes. Outside is a fire pit where wood is provided. Porta-potties are available on site. Keep up to date on the rink on the Friends of the Pine River Ice Rink Facebook group. The rink is located on Barclay avenue west of Highway 371, near the post office.