The Open Skate is a winter tradition embraced by cold weather communities all over the world, and the Bozeman, Big Sky and Yellowstone area of Montana does it as well as anyone. In Bozeman and Big Sky, there are several venues that facilitate open skates in a variety of settings. Between Bozeman’s urban rinks, the fairgrounds’ indoor skating venue and Big Sky’s convenient outdoor facilities, this region has ice skating opportunities for all walks—and skates—of life.
Big Sky Town Center
The Big Sky Skating and Hockey Association maintains two outdoor rinks in Big Sky: One large rink, most often used for hockey, and another smaller one that is perfectly suitable for children and families of all ages and ability levels. Both of these well-maintained ice rinks are located in the heart of Big Sky’s Town Center area, and are furnished with a warming hut, rubber walkways and plenty of spectator seating. The central location, breathtaking views and proximity to multiple dining and shopping opportunities makes Big Sky’s ice rinks ideal for families, couples or even individuals looking to socialize. East Slope Outdoors, located right across the parking lot, has affordable rental skates for the whole family.
For rink schedules, visit: www.BSSHA.org
If you’ve ever wanted to skate on a full-on hockey rink, you need to visit the Haynes Pavilion at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds during the winter. The rink here is maintained by the Bozeman Amateur Hockey Association, and the schedule is built in such a way that this wonderfully maintained facility is accessible to anyone looking to get out on the smoothest ice in the area. The ice time here is sorted into blocks by specific activity, such as Adult Puck Lunch (mid-day open skate for adults with hockey equipment), Public Skating (without hockey equipment), free Learn to Skate classes and a variety of club-only competitive ice sports like hockey, figure skating and curling that are all open to public viewing. The club hockey is especially fun to watch and is a great way to spend an evening with the whole family. Equipment rentals are available on-site here, so all you’ll need to pack is a thermos and a good sweater to enjoy a few hours on the ice at Haynes Pavilion.
For rink schedules, visit: www.bozemanhockey.org
Bozeman City Park Rinks
Bozeman’s Parks Division builds and maintains rinks at three different locations within city limits throughout the winter months: Beall Park, Southside Park and Bogert Park. As such, folks don’t even need to leave city limits in order to get outside and enjoy casual, family-friendly ice-skating. There is no fee to skate at any of these public rinks, but since amenities are limited, you’ll need to swing into Chalet Sports (centrally located between all of the rinks, on Main Street, in Downtown Bozeman) to get your rental skates and cold weather provisions.
For rink schedules, visit: www.bozeman.net