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ODRs of the World

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Banff Lake Louise

Exploring the Top 5 outdoor skating rinks around the globe

By Landyn Desmarais

In a world where ice skating is a beloved pastime, the quest for the ultimate outdoor rink experience leads us to some of the most remarkable destinations. From the longest artificial ice trail at FlevOnice, in the Netherlands, to the scenic grandeur of Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada, this list of the top 5 ODRs of the world offer more than just a place to skate—they provide a total sensory and cultural immersion.

These iconic ODRs of the world cater to hockey and skating enthusiasts alike and offer a glimpse into the local culture and spirit, making them must-visit destinations for anyone looking to experience the magic of ice skating in extraordinary settings.

FlevOnice, The Netherlands: Longest Artificial Ice Experience

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FlevOnice offers every skater’s dream of being able to skate so far you can’t see where you started. Known as the longest artificial ice rink in the world, this 3-kilometer outdoor rink offers an unparalleled skating experience, allowing you to enjoy an ODR like you have never had before.

The Details

The magic of FlevOnice isn’t just in its length. It offers a variety of experiences that just about everyone can enjoy, not to mention hockey or skating fans. During the winter, the 3-kilometer rink becomes the highlight for visitors but that isn’t all. There’s a “doodle” rink for the little ones or those just starting out, which is perfect for skaters practicing their first strides. And if you’re looking for something beyond skating, FlevOnice offers unique ice games such as curling, ice shuffleboard and biathlon on its 400-meter ice rink. When the weather gets warmer and the ice melts, FlevOince continues to offer exceptional experiences well into the summer, including an obstacle course, water activities and more.

Lake Louise, Banff, Canada: A Mountainous Hockey Paradise

Lake Louise in Banff, Alberta, Canada, is a skating wonderland that perfectly captures the beauty of the Canadian Rockies and the country’s love for hockey. Renowned for its crystal-clear ice, this iconic lake is enveloped by the breathtaking Rockies, offering a screensaver-like backdrop and making it one of the truly spectacular ODRs of the world. At the same time, you skate on the open ice that few places in the world can rival. The impressive ice castle, constructed each year by the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise team, makes this place even more magical.

The Details

In addition to its breathtaking natural beauty, Lake Louise offers practical amenities for skaters. The rink operates 24 hours a day, with floodlights illuminating the ice until 11 pm for those who prefer a bit of night skating under a starlit sky. The ice is meticulously cleared of snow daily, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable skating experience. While it may not be as polished as a conventional rink, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise maintains the natural ice surface.

Hockey players will be thrilled to know that Lake Louise sets up rinks for pond hockey games, allowing for what will likely be the most dramatic pond hockey game you will ever experience.

GUM-Skating Rink, Moscow, Russia: A Majestic Outdoor Rink

Located at the iconic Red Square, the GUM Skating Rink is one of Moscow’s most impressive and beloved winter attractions. This rink has become integral to the capital’s winter season, drawing visitors to its beautiful scenery and shows. Imagine skating with the Kremlin, Saint Basil’s Cathedral and the illuminated GUM department stores as your backdrop—a scene straight out of a winter movie​​.

The Details

The GUM Skating Rink, an impressive 3000 square meters, can accommodate up to 450 skaters at a time. Each session lasts an hour, with a special New Year’s night session adding to the festive spirit. The rink also hosts various events, including free yearly masterclasses from famous Russian athletes for hockey and figure skating, ice performances, a winter market and more.

Keystone Lake Ice Rink, Colorado: America’s Largest Outdoor Rink

Tucked away in the breathtaking Rocky Mountains at Keystone Resort lies Keystone Lake Ice Rink, a true winter gem. With its impressive five-acre ice sheet, Keystone Lake is one of North America’s largest Zamboni-maintained outdoor ice rinks. With the stunning mountain vistas and the Continental Divide combined with phenomenally maintained ice, Keystone Lake offers an unparalleled skating experience​​​​.

The Details

The experience at Keystone Lake is enhanced by the amenities offered at the Adventure Center. There you can rent skates designed for comfort and performance, ensuring a delightful skating session. For those seeking a warm treat, the bar offers hot chocolate (with the option to spike it for a little extra “zing”) and tasty snacks—perfect for replenishing energy after hours on the ice. The center also provides sleds, push bars and hockey sticks, making it an ideal spot for families, groups of friends, or anyone looking to engage in a quick pickup hockey game on the ice​​.

Rockefeller Rink, New York City: An Iconic Winter Wonderland

Rockefeller Rink, a quintessential image of winter in New York City, offers a skating experience steeped in history and glamor. It is also the home of the spectacular Rockefeller Christmas tree, which is lit in early December each year amid appearances by celebreties.

Surprisingly, the rink at this famous cultural landmark started not as a grand plan but as a last-minute idea by John D. Rockefeller. After its opening on Christmas Day in 1936, the rink was intended as a temporary feature to attract tourists and shoppers. Still, it quickly became a beloved permanent attraction, transforming the plaza into one of the city’s most visited spots​​.

The Details

Open for skating from 8:30 am, the rink limits admission to 150 skaters to ensure a quality experience for each visitor. It offers more than just skating; it’s also a venue for life’s special moments, from anniversaries to marriage proposals. With options for season-long access and private skating lessons, the Rockefeller Rink caters to a diverse range of visitors, each leaving with cherished memories​​.

Conclusion

Whether you’re a hockey fan or skating enthusiast, these ODRs of the world are some of the top places to add to your bucket list. All of these outdoor rinks offer their own unique experiences that make each visit memorable. And hockey fans looking for other top destinations will no doubt appreciate this article for their travels.

Landyn Desmarais is a goaltender and goalie coach in Fort Erie, Ontario. Among his numerous achievements, Desmarais has played AAA

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