There are so many great ways to enjoy the Whitefish Chain Area in the wintertime, from snowmobiling to cross country skiing to snowshoeing. Today, though, we want to focus on ice skating, an activity that's fun for just about any age as well as accessible and inexpensive.
Several of the towns around the Whitefish Chain have ice skating rinks that are open to the public. None of the rinks listed here charge admission; it's free to skate! Check them out:
Nisswa has two ice skating rinks located at the community center, just north of the downtown area. one of the rinks is even refrigerated and both are lit. Thanks to a generous donation, the city has a zamboni it uses to clean off the rinks. Generally one rink is reserved for free skating and the other for hockey.
There's also a warming hut where you can rent skates- for free! All of the skates are available thanks to donations from the community. The rinks are open Monday-Thursday from 3-8 p.m., Friday from 3-9 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The city's parks and recreation department keeps their Facebook page updated with any closures or changes to hours, so check there before you head out. Often the rinks will be closed if temperatures are extremely cold or there's a snow day.
Crosslake has a lit skating rink on the pond behind the community center. Park at the community center and walk north of the tennis courts and you'll see a set of stairs below a light pole that leads down to the skating pond.
There's a switch on the light pole so you can skate after dark, but be aware that the lights turn off automatically at 10 p.m.
Pine River's ice rink is a community affair that's possible thanks to a lot of great community work. It's located near the Pine River Post Office on Barclay Avenue west of the stoplights (most of Pine River's downtown is located east of the stoplights, but head west to find the ice rink).
Pine River also keeps a current Facebook group, called the Friends of the Pine River Ice Rink, where conditions are updated frequently and people can share their photos of fun on the ice (be sure to share yours!).
There's also a warming house. Both the rink and the warming house are always open, but the rink lights turn off at 10 p.m. Broomball is open to all and starts at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays. Any age is welcome and sticks are provided.
In addition to the rinks managed by local cities, you'll find that many of the area's resorts maintain their own ice rink out on the lake. Check with your accommodation to see what's available.