The seemingly endless skies of the Treasure State provide a beautiful western backdrop to all activities that winter has to offer. Montana’s overabundance of snow and cold conditions engenders a fondness for all things ice: in particular, ice hockey and skating. Each of these facilities offers a pristine sheet of ice and other amenities to keep you entertained. Here are the 10 best ice skating rinks in Montana.
The Great Falls Ice Plex is a recently-renovated and well maintained facility in the winter-activity hub of west-central Montana. Its primary focus is amateur ice hockey for men, women and youth of all skill levels. Free-skating is a comparably popular pastime, with equipment and lessons available, be it for competition or recreation. Fees for skating, including the necessary rentals, is $8 for adults, $7 for kids and free for those under five.
Located in the home of Montana State University-Billings, the Centennial Ice Arena offers a full-service rink, hosting amateur hockey and figure skating competitions, and an abundance of open periods for free-skating. Amateurs and veterans alike can take advantage of intensive lessons, with skates, sticks and pucks all available for rent. Prices are $10 for adults over 12, and $8 for children, including skate rental.
The Glacier Ice Rink is a full-service facility with concessions Friday-Sunday, equipment rental, hockey and skating lessons, and provides an on-site skate shop for maintenance and tuning. With a good reception from visitors, the rink near the University of Montana provides a vibrant college atmosphere without the big-town prices. After skating, take advantage of the town’s eclectic food scene. Adults over 18 can skate for $9, and kids and seniors for $6, skate rental included.
In a gorgeous winter backdrop, the Stumptown Ice Den is Whitefish’s go-to hockey and ice skating venue. It hosts amateur and competitive camps throughout the year, and offers lessons and free-skating fun for the beginner and expert alike. The rink is also a popular spot for private parties. Visitors should expect to pay $9 for skating and rental, or $3 for those under six.
Run by the Flathead Valley Hockey Association, an all-volunteer organization, the Woodland Ice Center is maintained via donations and fundraising for community sport. The facility is open to all and centered around the youth hockey program, the Flathead Flames, providing camps and personal instruction. In addition to free-skating, lessons are available for all skill levels, at $51 per session, be you a beginning “ice cube” or experienced “snowflake.” Skating costs $9 for adults and $5 if under 18. Go Flames!
The home of Montana State University features a state of the art rink, maintained and supported by the Bozeman Amateur Hockey Association, a nonprofit organization promoting recreational and competitive hockey for over 30 years. In addition to public skating, the facility offers lessons, and hosts a competitive league for adults and children. Forgot your stick or skates? No problem—the rental center runs the gamut. When a day of ice skating is winding down, the vibrancy of Bozeman ensures a plethora of food, art and cultural attractions. Including skate rental, free-skate will run $10 for adults and $8 for kids under 12.
Home to Carroll College and amateur hockey's Helena Bighorns, the state capital is a center for outdoor recreation and ice sports of all sorts. The arena features a pro-shop for sharpening and tuning (around $10) and offers any number of types of hockey sticks, Bighorn apparel and rental equipment. Host to the Helena Figure Skating League and the local BroomBall team, this well-rounded facility teaches clinics, camps and provides lessons all season, with prices around $75-$100, dependent on skill level and equipment needs. After cutting some ice, grab a burger and fries at the on-site Grille, featuring the obligatory concession fare—but highly recommended is the famous "Porky.”
Located outdoors in the town center, this rink is the bucolic setting for holidays during the ski season. Sponsored by the Big Sky Skating & Hockey Association, this sheet of glass is a nostalgic host to hockey sportsmanship, family free-skating and all-around after-ski holiday spirit. Come one, come all.
Moonlight Basin is a mountain community pillared on recreational outdoor life, boasting cabins, a golf course, lodge and skiing galore. In a place where “elk outnumber people,” the rink is a great seasonal stop-over, especially during the holidays. While this isn’t the rink for renting equipment, or getting your skates tuned, the alpine setting is more than impressive.
The Valley Event Center is a multi-use facility in Glasgow, Montana. According to their site, “The first sheet of ice was laid down in 2006.” Since then, the Valley Event Center has been hosting hockey, figure skating, car shows and more at in their spacious arena. Volunteers offer up their time to continually improve the space. Check the schedule on their website for skate times!