Monday, January 12, 2015

Ice Skating on the Ghost Lake Reservoir

There's a magical window in the Rockies where some lakes freeze solid enough for skating before they become snow covered.  This usually happens in mid to late November.  This year we were fortunate to get out to Johnson Lake in Banff twice during this window and it was incredible, as always!

Natural Ice Skating in the Rockies

"Secret" Lake Skating in the Rockies

There are plenty of beautiful places to skate in the Rockies but I'm always looking for that "secret" spot.  That spot that does not have zillions of other skaters on it.  Perhaps, that spot where I even to have to do my own measurements and determine if it's safe enough to go out on the ice.  I also like beautiful scenery and it doesn't cut it for me to go skating in the middle of the town of Banff. 

I like to skate on lakes that get no grooming, no professional care, and are completely wild and natural.

This is Ice Skating at its BEST on the Ghost Reservoir

Is it Safe??

Is it dangerous?  Possibly!  Do we still skate on mountain lakes?  Definitely!  We just make sure that we see evidence that others have gone before us.  Ice boats out on the Ghost Reservoir - good sign that it's safe!  Other skating tracks and figure eights out on the ice - good sign that others have skated here and hopefully not fallen in!  A cleared off hockey rink - very good sign because somebody obviously got out on the ice to clear off their patch of heaven for skating.  And again, hopefully did not fall in!!

Noah loves being blown down lake by wind

Searching for a new place to skate in December

We were out in the mountains skiing in December and I asked if we could come home to Calgary via the Hwy 1A through Morley and Cochrane because I wanted to see if the Ghost Lake Reservoir was frozen or not.  We'd checked back in November and it most definitely was not frozen!  But by mid-December I had hopes that this gigantic lake would be frozen and snow free since it had been many a week since we'd had fresh snow.

Skating on the Ghost Lake off the Hwy 1A

Approaching the Reservoir I knew we were in luck because I saw members of the Ghost Lake Ice Sailing Club out on the lake.  (the link is to the club's Facebook page if you want to follow them and find out when the ice is clear.) 

Ghost Lake Reservoir - Great for Ice Sailing and Skating

Sunset Skating on Ghost Lake

The experience skating on the Ghost Lake was surreal!  It was beautiful and we were the only ones out on the lake skating as sun set fell over the foothills on the night of the Winter Solstice.

Sunset Skating on the Ghost Lake Reservoir
Celebrating the Winter Solstice on Ghost Lake

Round Two of Skating on Ghost Lake

I was so thrilled by the experience of skating on the Ghost Reservoir that we dropped everything a couple days later to go back for round two. We managed to convince some brave friends to join us (who showed up wearing life jackets, lol.)  Nobody fell in though and we all had a blast!

Kids skating on Ghost Lake
No  better skating rink than this!
Skating under the bridge was really cool!
Skating under the highway on the Ghost Reservoir


Video of Skating on the Ghost Lake Reservoir


Additional Resources and Information on Skating in the Rockies

November is my Favourite Month to Visit Banff - Story on my blog about skating Johnston Lake

Ice Safety Tips from the Town of Banff website


  1. I'm pretty sure there are no lakes or any bodies of water safe to play on down here in the south. BUT, the photos are are absolutely fabulous. I love that first one, especially. How neat.

  2. This looks like so much fun and it's close to Calgary, so double bonus!

    1. Thanks Jody. It is definitely close to Calgary. Half an hour from my house I think. :)