When it comes to ice skating in the Upper Valley, people tend to fall into one of two groups. There are the recreationists who just want to get out on some ice, skate around for a little bit, and sip some hot chocolate. And then there are the hockey players.
These folks, male and female alike, also want to have some fun, but they take their skating much more seriously. Their idea of fun is faster and harder, and involves a lot more equipment. They’re the reason indoor ice rinks open at 6 in the morning and don’t close until 10 at night. Ice time is precious and hockey players take advantage of it whenever they can.
Fortunately, the Upper Valley’s indoor and outdoor ice venues cater to the desires of both camps. When winter sets in, outdoor rinks pop up all over the place, and they are perfect, family friendly places for gliding (or slipping and sliding) across a sheet of frozen water. The outdoor rinks may set aside some specific times for pickup hockey games, so check before you go. In general, though, things are pretty low key at the outdoor rinks.
There are three main indoor ice rinks in the Upper Valley. Each offers skate time for the general public, lessons for all ages (and all styles), and lots and lots of hockey. If you’re interested in joining a league, any of these rinks can give you the information you need to get started.
- James Campion Rink
394 North Main Street, West Lebanon, New Hampshire
- Wendell A. Barwood Arena
431 Highland Avenue, Hartford, Vermont
- Union Arena
80 Amsden Way, Woodstock, Vermont
Most of the outdoor rinks are sponsored by the town’s Parks and Recreation departments. The following is a partial list.
- Pat Walsh Park, on Bank Street Extension, in downtown Lebanon, New Hampshire, knows the Upper Valley well. It has two rinks: one for casual skaters, the other for hockey players.
- Occom Pond, on Occom Ridge, in Hanover, New Hampshire. It doesn’t get any quainter or more New England-y than Occom Pond.
- Frost Park, at 130 South Street, in Wilder, Vermont. Includes an open-air shelter.
- The Quechee Club, at 3268 Main Street, in Quechee, Vermont, has an illuminated pond to skate on. You don’t have to be a member to enjoy it. It’s free and open to the public.
- Post Pond, on Route 10, and the Town Green, in Lyme, New Hampshire. These rinks are reserved for Lyme residents and their friends, so, if you don’t live in Lyme, buddy up with some who does.
- Town Green, Route 10, in Newport, New Hampshire. In 2016, drought almost knocked out the town’s ability to keep this rink open. But they made it! And it should return again for the 2017-2018 season.
- Lake Morey Resort, 1 Clubhouse Road, in Fairlee, Vermont. For an unforgettable and unique experience, don’t miss the “longest ice skating trail in the United States.” Every winter, the Lake Morey Resort maintains a 4.5-mile loop around the lake. Skate rentals are available on weekends.
More of an indoor kind of person in the winter? Check out our list of terrific Upper Valley museums for some warmer fun!