Skating & Pond Hockey in BC Guide

Nostalgic Skating & Pond Hockey Destinations in BC: Shoot, Score, Stay

Imagine breathing in the crisp, winter air as you glide across a natural frozen rink, the crunch of your skates echoing through the tranquil winter silence. Discover a blend of exhilaration, camaraderie, and nostalgia as you engage in a spirited game of pond hockey or family skate session. British Columbia’s Land of Hidden Waters serves as a haven for these cherished moments, boasting numerous frozen lakes that promise a rich, winter experience.

Pond Hockey in Bridge Lake
Bridge Lake/@klu_the_gsp

Where to Enjoy Pond Hockey

BC is home to some of the most impressive rinks nature has to offer. With this, let’s explore the top areas:

Kamloops: Known for its fantastic outdoor winter sports, wide array of amenities, proximity to numerous wilderness spots, and frequently solid ice conditions, it’s an ideal location for grabbing a quick pond hockey game and still having time in the day for other urban adventures.

Skating & Pond Hockey in Inks Lake
Inks Lake│Peter Olsen/Tourism Kamloops
Pond Hockey in Shumway Lake
Shumway Lake/Olsen Imaging

South Cariboo: This region’s lakes frequently freeze over thickly in the winter, and the low population density means you can often find a serene, private spot to skate (be prepared to shovel off your own rink). There are also lots of four-season lakefront resorts perfect for planning weekend skate getaways.  

  • Fawn Lake (2-hour drive from downtown Kamloops)
  • Lac La Hache (2hr 25min)
  • Bridge Lake (1hr 40 min)
  • Ruth Lake (2hr 35 min)
  • Sheridan Lake (1hr 45 min)
  • Irish Lake (2hr)
  • Phinetta Lake (1hr 30 min)
  • Latremouille Lake (1hr 15 min)
  • Hawkins Lake (2hr 50 min)
  • Green Lake (2hr)
Pond Hockey in Sheridan Lake
Sheridan Lake/Jonny Bierman

Clearwater: Although Dutch Lake is the only lake suited for outdoor skating and ice-fishing in Clearwater, the area is surrounded by pristine frozen waterfalls and majestic pine trees that make for exceptional other wilderness adventures.

Ice Fishers on Dutch Lake
Ice Fishers on Dutch Lake/Holly Louwerse Photography

Lower North Thompson Valley: This area offers several beautiful lakes that freeze up in the winter, making it an ideal spot for pond hockey. The Lower North Thompson provides perfect secluded spots that are just short drives to urban centres like Kamloops. Make sure that you are prepared to clear off your own rink when visiting these lakes.

  • Big Bar Lake (2 hours from downtown Kamloops)
  • Goose Lake (27 mins)
  • Loon Lake (1hr 30 mins)

Essential Gear for Pond Hockey

Ensure your pond hockey experience runs smoothly by packing the necessary gear. This includes:

  • Skates, sticks, helmets, and gloves: These are your essential hockey-playing items. You may also want to bring items for goalposts!
  • Chairs: For resting between games.
  • Warm clothes: It’s essential to layer up to protect against the cold. Lots of layers means you can shed them off as you work up your sweat!
  • Hot drinks and locally sourced food: These are necessary for keeping warm and replenishing energy.
  • Shovel: Ideal in case you need to clear any snow from the pond.
  • Safety equipment: A drill and tape measure to measure ice thickness along with your regular winter safety pack can help keep skaters safe while enjoying the outdoors.
Kids playing hockey on a frozen lake at Ruth Lake Lodge Resort

Accommodations for Post-Ice Skating

After your fun day out on the ice, warm up and relax at any of these inviting accommodations, each offering a unique experience:

While they might not be located directly on lakes, other comfortable stays include Clearwater Springs Ranch, Ludtke Cottage, Wolf Valley Guest Ranch, Wells Gray Guest Ranch, Moul Creek Lodge, Rainbow Spirit Retreat, Beaver Guest Ranch, Little Black Bear Lodge B&B, and Kayanara. These resorts are all within close proximity to the rinks and bring you lots of other awesome winter activities and amenities.

Pond Hockey in Fawn Lake Resort
Fawn Lake Resort / Michael Bednar

Other Nearby Activities

Other than skating, there are abundant attractions nearby to complement your winter escapade: 

Dog sledding at Sun Peaks/Mary Putnam

Ice and Snow Safety

Safety is paramount. Monitor weather conditions and be prepared to adjust your plans accordingly. Never venture onto unfamiliar natural ice without first determining its safety. Be aware of the symptoms of hypothermia and know the basic treatments. For a comprehensive list of safety guidelines, check out BC Parks Winter Safety, Red Cross, and the Land of Hidden Waters Responsible Travel page.  

A few tips for assessing ice safety:

  • Use a drill and tape measure to check the ice thickness
  • Don’t go on ice that has open water patches
  • Check the ice thickness in different places
  • Dark blue ice is safer than opaque white or grey ice
  • Consult with the local authority’s ice safety assessments
AdventureSmart

Conclusion

The nostalgia of pond hockey and the freedom of lake skating are alluring aspects of BC’s winter culture, and the landscapes within BC’s Land of Hidden Waters provide the perfect backdrop for these cherished experiences. Visit the top destinations, gear up properly, stay safe on the ice, and indulge in the comforts of cozy accommodations while exploring the assorted winter activities this hidden gem of a region has to offer. Rekindle your love for winter’s charm through the quintessential Canadian pastime of pond skating in the heart of BC.

© 2024 Land of Hidden Waters. All Rights Reserved.

Handcrafted by Eco Escape Travel & BLKWTR.

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