For me, the most pure form of ice skating is that done on ponds and lakes - the ice has character, the crisp winter air stings the nostrils, and the surrounding nature a nerve tonic for the world-weary. On a brisk Christmas day, I went out to Lake Louise to enjoy a real ice skating experience.
A light snow was falling on the lake when I arrived, and the parking lot was full of tourists (most of whom have totally lost their fear of motor vehicles). The Fairmont château had a truck cleaning the ice, and they had built a large ice castle in the middle of the cleared ice.
After skating around for a while, there was hot chocolate and sandwiches in the château. Not a bad way to spend a winter afternoon.
Ice skating is allowed as long as the ice is thick enough, so make a trek December through February to ensure you’ll get a chance to skate.