Lake Skating?

Can anyone point me to good places to ice skate or cross-country ski on lakes around Duluth this week? Looking for lakes with a sheet of smooth-ish ice or with an inch or two of snow to ski on.

We’ve been skating on the harbor the last couple of weekends. The ice was nice weekend before last, and lots of ice boats and kites were out. Since then, a hovercraft (I’m told – is this true?) has made some trails of busted up ice chunks that are tough to skate across, and the rain and snow kind of pebbled the remaining surface, but there’s still a big sheet of skatable ice near Sky Harbor airport.

I’m not telling you that it’s safe, so please don’t sue me if you head out and something awful happens. Yesterday when we were out, a ship passed along the Superior shore and then cracks started to open up. Beyond the airport, if you skate along the shore, there is some open water.

Can anyone recommend any other lakes to try, either for skating or for skiing?



about 12 years ago

Virtually any of the small lakes that dot the region are now safe for walking/snowshoeing/skiing should you wish to try the "snowless" experience.  There are sections of snow-free ice for skating, but most around here go to the rinks for skating pleasure.


about 12 years ago

If you are lucky, and the lake conditions cooperate, then you might have a chance to skate on the big lake.

Usually, the inland area of the lake freezes, then thaws, then breaks up and then freezes and so on and so forth. This creates a lot of chunks and bumps and odd structure to the shallow areas of the lake.

But if it gets very cold for an extended period of time, without a lot of wind... Then the lake freezes smooth and you can skate for miles upon miles upon miles. 

It does not happen often, but when it does it is awesome.


about 12 years ago

That happened three or four winters ago. The ice was so clear, they found the remains of a long forgotten scuttled tug (?) off Park Point in shallow water.

Paul Helstrom skated from the secret beach to Endion Station in one shot.


about 12 years ago

Is there a place in town to buy ice skates?  I wouldn't know the first place to look.


about 12 years ago

The year the lake froze smooth was the coolest. Seemed like half the city was out there skating and fishing and walking dogs and discovering shipwrecks.

Has anyone skated on Island Lake yet this winter? What about Hartley Pond?

Paul Lundgren

about 12 years ago

For new skates: Stewart's Bikes & Sports (West End) and Stauber Brothers Sports (Miller Hill).

For used skates: Play it Again Sports (Kenwood or Superior).

Paul Lundgren

about 12 years ago

February 2007 was when the ice was perfect on Park Point for skating. Starfire shot a cool skating video that no longer exists online, but Vicarious' "Umbrella Ice Sailing on Lake Superior" is still in the archives.

There is also a nice February 2007 video of "Ice Cracking on Lake Superior" by Zac Bentz.


about 12 years ago

I've never skated on Lake Superior, but I hope it's something like this video.


about 12 years ago

Mike Scholtz did this video back in '07 too.


about 12 years ago

Can anyone recommend any lakes that currently have great ice skating conditions?  Specifically, I'm looking for long leads of smooth, snow-free ice.  Lake skating is vastly superior to rink skating, when you can find it.


about 12 years ago

Typically great ice for skating only happens when lakes first freeze, when it's consistently cold, and no snow.  Since most area lakes (Fish, Island, Pike, Boulder, Rice) have been frozen for quite awhile now, have had freezing and melting snow etc, the ice would be super rough to skate on. You'll be better off getting the skis out and doing a snow dance.


about 12 years ago

Red Pebble, that's exactly the question I was trying to ask in my post: 

Does anyone have firsthand knowledge of specific lakes that have smooth, safe, skatable ice right now?

I can tell you that the harbor is skatable in some spots, bumpy in some spots, and dangerous in some spots. I'm headed out there shortly.

I agree with you that lake skating is way more fun than rink skating.


about 12 years ago

Continental Ski has the ice blades that attach to your Nordic ski boots. Saw 'em at the BAMFF

Chris Julin

about 12 years ago

Dang. I should have thought of calling Continental. It would have been nice to buy locally. 

I just ordered some Swedish touring skates from these guys. 

They have a lot of clip-on/strap-on blades to choose from.

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