Frozen pond skating on steroids
If you’ve ever dreamed of skating untouched ice surrounded by majestic mountains, then Windy Arm on Tagish Lake is the ultimate place to get your skate on. When the conditions are just right, it becomes a 100km winter wonderland with more pristine skating terrain than you can shake a hockey stick at.
Timing is everything
What makes skating on Windy Arm so special? It’s not just the fact that it’s beautiful, magical, and mind-blowingly massive. It’s also a rare occurrence. The perfect conditions only happen every 3-5 years, but it’s well worth the wait. Early winter is the best window since the temperature drops and the big snowfalls usually haven’t arrived. So if you need more time to perfect your slap shot or your triple axle before the public ice skating session of a lifetime, nature may be willing to give you an extension.
Skate in good company
If you’re looking for your own patch of ice to skate with just your friends, there’s more than enough room for everyone on Tagish Lake. But even if you’re out for a solo session, you’re not alone. If you look at your feet you may find a few fish beneath your feet. So if you slip and fall on your rear, usually you have an audience. At least the view from down there also includes beautiful mountains all around to soften the blow to your ego, and your posterior. (Video courtesy of Lee Hawkings.)
Where it’s at
Getting to Windy Arm is about an hour and a half from Whitehorse. But like the views you’ll see while standing on your skates, you’ll also get a few natural sights along the way down the Alaska Highway and South Klondike Highway. If the stars align and conditions are just right, the drive will reward you with an unforgettable day of one-of-a-kind ice skating.
If you do choose to set foot/skate on one of the Yukon’s frozen lakes (big or small) safety is everything. Making sure conditions are ideal and checking the ice before venturing out is the most important step you can take. If you think the stars are aligning for some natural magic on ice, ask the locals, do your homework, make sure it’s safe, and, of course, have fun.