No visit to the French ski station would be complete without a visit to the local skating rink. And you don’t have to just skate in circles, as there are many activities to choose from. Whether you prefer traditional skating, or perhaps ice dancing, hockey, or curling; a day at the rink will be fun for the whole family.
Every skating rink is a little different, as they may be covered or open-air, with real or perhaps synthetic ice. Some stations even offer a 100% natural skating experience on a lake or pond, as is the case at Métabief-les Fourgs, in the Jura, where guests can skate on the Lac de Saint-Point – a 400 hectare (~1000 acre) winter playground! Lac de Tignes, in the Savoy region, also offers excellent skating. Parents can take a romantic promenade on the 300 meter (~1000 ft) skate way, while the kids enjoy the 2000 m² (+21,000 sq ft) recreational surface that includes a games area, hockey rink, and fun square. Plus, access to the lake is free, excluding the cost of skate rental. In fact at certain stations, access to the rink is complimentary if you have a multi-day alpine ski pass.
Don’t worry about your children falling on the ice, now that specially adapted equipment is available for kids 2 years and older. At Pralognan-la-Vanoise (Savoy), you can rent a “safety kit” which includes an initiation sledge (sled), helmet, as well as elbow and knee pads. At Val d’Allos (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence), you will have the use of equipment such as chairs and scooters just for the little ones. The Orres station (Hautes-Alpes) provides stabilizing devices in the shape of animals to reassure children as they find their balance. Here, like at many skating rinks, you will find an “ice garden” (inspired by the “snow gardens”). These fun, safe spaces are great places for kids to learn to skate, with bridges, and turns to keep it interesting.