Photo credit: Town of Okotoks
Southern Alberta is such a great place to be outdoors in winter. Regular chinooks blow in and keep air temperatures moderate so you can walk, skate, slide, snow shoe or do some cross country skiing for hours.
Okotoks has fantastic outdoor facilities, starting with pleasure skating downtown. There’s a cool new rink in Olde Towne Okotoks and another at Seaman Stadium. Altogether, there are nine pleasure rinks throughout Okotoks and many more boarded hockey rinks in Okotoks communities with flood lights for use after dark (which we all know comes entirely too early).
The recreation department at the Town of Okotoks hopes all residents will use the public rinks and local toboggan hills for fresh air, exercise and winter fun. Best of all, it’s all free.
Public rinks in Okotoks
- Kinsmen Rink – 99 Okotoks Drive
- Downtown Plaza – 38 McRae Street
- Ardiel Park – 20 Ardiel Drive
- Cedar Grove Park – 103 Lock Crescent
- Pason Centennial Arena – 204 Community Way
- Westridge Close Park – 118 Westridge Close
- Cimarron Park – 175 Cimarron Drive
- Suntree Park – 24 Suntree Lane
- Seaman Stadium – 256 Don Seaman Way
| Public toboggan hills in Okotoks
The excitement of the holiday season and moderate outdoor temperatures may make storm water ponds, dugouts and even rivers and creeks look inviting. There’s a pure Canadian romance to playing shiny outside on a frozen lake. However, with those lovely moderate temperatures comes the danger of thin ice. The danger of breaking through the ice and falling into ice cold water is very real this time of year. Be safe, and skate only on designated ice surfaces that are maintained by the Town of Okotoks, and stay away from hills with slopes that end at bodies of water, such as retention ponds. The town’s maintenance department also maintains local toboggan hills and they are monitored for hazards and even groomed for public use.
All of these facilities are not attended and are used at your own risk. Use of helmets when skating or sledding is encouraged. Facilities are weather dependent and therefore subject to closure.
The health benefits of skating
- Even skating once a year at Christmas is good for you, but if you make it a regular habit the health benefits can be tremendous.
- Calorie burn. The longer you skate the more you burn. It’s about the time you’re skating, not always how fast you skate.
- The more often you go skating, the more your glutes, thigh and calf muscles will love it.
- Reduced stress, improved mood and it’s good for your heart.
- Having fun. Getting outdoors and enjoying one activity can be the catalyst you need to pursue other types of exercise.
- The social aspect of skating outdoors is very beneficial, even if you go alone. There will be others having fun, and fun can be contagious.
- After skating, go for hot chocolate at one of Okotoks many coffee shops. The fun can continue long after the lights go out at the rinks.