Winter activities

Staff Writer, Arts & Community Writer

It is the end of the coldest month, February, which means that winter is almost over. Some of you cannot wait for the spring so you can switch from many layers to weightless dresses and shorts. The rest of you, despite the fact that it is cold, enjoy winter the most. 


Instead of impatiently waiting for the spring, we all should enjoy the rest of this wonderful snowy season.


I am sure that many of you had that moment when the winter was over and you felt like you did not have enough time to enjoy it. You either forgot to try to skate for the first time, or you promised yourself that you would learn how to snowboard, but you were too scared or too busy. Well, it is never too late to make up for lost time.


You just need to think about what you want to do to fully enjoy the winter season, and do it.


There are many skating areas in Grand Forks where you can enjoy skating with your family and friends.


The first stop is The Grand Forks Park District which has a community full of great parks, ice rinks, arenas, and trails. Most are ideal for you to have a fun time. 

The Grand Forks Park District offers 11 areas with supervised warming houses and lighted hockey and pleasure skating rinks. If you are interested in winter activities you may want to visit these areas. Most of them have warming houses where you can rest, take a restroom break, and warm up. The Grand Forks Park District provides a great possibility for you and your family to have a party, family reunion, wedding or other special event. The parks are located all over the Grand Forks area, so you do not have to worry about driving too far from your house. 

The parks include Lincoln Drive Park, University Park, Ben Franklin Park, Cox Park, Elks Park, Jaycees Park, Kelly Park, Lake Ag Park, Lions Park, Optimist Park and Riverside Park. You can choose the closest park to your neighborhood, or any other park if you want to explore the areas of Grand Forks. 


Many of these parks have ice rinks, sledding hills, and ski trails, but some of them have different features. For example, Lincoln Drive Park is used in the winter, not only for sledding, cross country skiing and ice skating, but the Lyons Club uses it to put on a drive-through Holiday light display to raise money for their club. At Lincoln Park, you can also rent skates, skies, snowshoes and sleds for free.


Ben Franklin has an outdoor ice skating rink, and a hockey rink where visitors can both ice skate and play hockey without disturbing each other. The rest of parks have skate rinks, hockey rinks, and trails. There is no charge but there is also no supervision. Therefore, you can enjoy these activities for free.

All warming houses have regular hours of operation: (weather permitting) Monday – Friday: 3:30 – 8:30 p.m., Saturday & Sunday: 12:00 p.m.– 8:30 p.m.

Hours are subject to change according to weather conditions. Warming houses usually operate until the snow starts melting. However, warming houses may close earlier than scheduled if temperatures reach -10 degrees or colder or wind chills at -20 or greater.

If you are more into indoor activities, then you may want to visit Icon Sports Center that is located next to the Choice Health & Fitness. 


Icon Sports Center  provides an opportunity for you to skate for free inside the indoor ice rink Mon-Thurs: 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Many people like to skate there with their families and friends. You just need to bring your skates. I would also suggest bringing thermos with a hot tea to make your skating experience more cozy and fun. 


There is an interesting fact to know that aside from providing local, year-round ice for families within our community.


 ICON Sports Center has been a prime hosting location for large hockey tournaments and skating competitions, including the co-host location for the 2016 IIHF Men’s U18 World Championship Tournament, along with the Ralph Engelstad Arena.  With the ability to host many youth tournaments, the facility has made a great financial impact to the Grand Forks community, as well as assisted with adding to the quality of life of local hockey and figure skating families, according to The Grand Forks Park District website.

The Grand Forks Park District also offers indoor public skating at the Blue Line Club Arena and Eagles Arena.

Both Eagles Arena and the Blue Line Club Arena feature one sheet of ice each and are connected to each other with a concession stand. The main users of Eagles and BLC Arena are: Youth hockey, adult hockey, figure skating, and  both the Red River Boys and Girls high school hockey teams, according to The Grand Forks Park District website.

You can skate at Blue Line Club Arena on Thursdays: 8:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., Saturdays: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., and Sundays: 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. – 9:45 p.m.


The good feature of indoor rinks is a smooth and good quality ice. Therefore, I assure you that you will definitely enjoy your skating experience.


As you can see, there are a variety of places where you can go and enjoy the rest of the winter. Let’s not waste anymore time so we can spend the rest of the winter being active and happy.


You can find more information about winter activities at The Grand Forks Park District website

For weather related announcements, check the GF Park District homepage or call the info line at: 701-787-3499.