Whether it’s heading up north for some skiing, heading to the woods for some snowshoeing, or in this case, lacing up and taking a few laps on the nearest frozen pond, staying warm, stylish, and cozy is essential. Here’s our guide on what to wear outdoor skating in Canada this winter.
Outdoor Skating Essentials
Whatever your style, whatever the weather, there are a few essentials you’ll need to ensure you stay warm and comfortable.
In this case, socks are less about style and more about ensuring your feet stay comfortable. For those who don’t go skating often, ice skates can have a very peculiar fit, and if you’re renting a pair, you also run the risk of having to wear a size too big or too small. If you want a sock that gets the job done no matter the activity, go for a good pair of merino wool socks from Smartwool or Icebreaker. They wick-moisture, keep your feet smelling fresh, and breathe so your feet don’t overheat. A crew sock is also preferable for skating because it will go up to the shin and stop the skate from rubbing against the skin.
PhD Outdoor Light Crew Socks
Hike Med Crew
Toques, Scarves and Mittens
When you’re out on the frozen surface of Lake Louise in Alberta, you want to bundle up and stay warm as you skate amongst the surrounding. When your skating under the city lights at Bonsecours Basin in Montreal’s Old Port, you also want to stay warm, but with a touch of style. A toque is a must for any Canadian braving the cold and leather mittens are a safe choice in case you take a tumble. For those who don’t want to fumble with a scarf, a neck-warmer is the way to go.
The Uniform Beanie
Most winter activities require some kind of layering system to manoeuver through the changing temperatures comfortably. When it comes to ice skating, you won’t need the same technical apparel that you would if you were skiing in the backcountry, but if you’re skating along the Rideau Canal in Ottawa you’ll want the option to bundle up or strip down. It also gives you a chance to make a fashion statement by showing off a bit of colour and letting your unique style shine through on the skating rink.
Sweaters & Lightweight Jackets
Outdoor skating is meant to be a leisure activity enjoyed with friends and families. At least try telling that to your ultra-competitive cousin. Whether you’re enjoying the view on Montreal’s Beaver Lake or weaving your way through Parc Lafontaine, you can permit yourself to opt for style over performance.
You want to be comfortable, but you don’t need a state of the art high-performance jacket to skate around the park (unless you’ve already got one for skiing). Often you’ll see people skating around with their jackets open. If you’ve got a big jacket on, we suggest one of these stylish sweaters to keep you warm and cozy.
Dale of Norway
St. Moritz Masculine Sweater
Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Pullover
CHUP Speren Sweater
The beauty of a layering system is you can adjust to the temperature. If you’re out on the pond on a sunny day and you start to sweat, you can always open your jacket or remove a layer. The true versatility of a mid layer lies in the fact that it can be worn on its own or under a shell. If you don’t want to wear a bulky parka, you can always opt for a lightweight insulated jacket that can be worn over a sweater, or weather permitting, on its own. You also want a jacket that finds the balance between warmth and style, in case your afternoon skate leads to an evening of drinks.
Powell Quilted Jacket
First Light Stretch Hoody
Hybridge Knit Jacket
This option is for the brave ones. The ones who check the weather and pack their skates even if it’s going to be -20°C on Winnipeg’s The Forks skating trail. Again, if you’ve got an ultra-warm jacket that you want to throw on, by all means. But if you’re looking to inject a bit of style and a whole lot of warmth into your look, go for a premium insulated parka with a touch of urban-chic.
The North Face
McMurdo III Parka
Champlain Coyote Fur Down Parka
On Frozen Pond
There are those who like to bundle up by the fire when the snow starts to fall. Cold weather and icy conditions are the last things they want to deal with, so they head to their cozy apartment in the city or the rustic comfort of their chalet in the woods. For the adventurers, the ones who find themselves in the great outdoors on a sunny winter afternoon, there are plenty of things to do. One we would highly recommend involves lacing up a pair of skates and heading to the nearest frozen surface for some exercise, and a few red-faced selfies.