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(Photo courtesy of Katy’s Courage)

As we slowly but surely move into consistently colder weather here on the South Fork, ice skating proves to be one of the most widely practiced winter activities for folks of all ages and abilities. Whether you’re a seasoned skater or a nervous novice, there are a couple of spots scattered around the East End that will have you sliding and gliding around with ease. Some of these spots are well known, situated on some of the south shore’s main drags and operating consistently throughout the winter season, while others are tucked away, lesser-known local treasures that may not be viable if temperatures are too warm. In either scenario, remember: Safety first and happy skating!

Open since Halloween weekend, Southampton Ice Rink (668 County Road 39) is easy to spot. Erected under a white dome, the ice rink is 120 feet by 50 feet and opens at 9 a.m. and stays open until at least 10 p.m. every day. Situated on the same space that houses batting cages and driving ranges in the warmer months, Southampton Ice Rink director Bryan Wish says building the rink takes about three weeks of work where he and his team “build the whole thing from scratch” and “make ice for five days straight, around the clock.”

Public skating is available nearly every day at Southampton Ice Rink, along with several other skating programs for both adults and youth. (Photo courtesy of Bryan Wish)

While there’s public skating available nearly every day, Wish advises to check the online schedule, as there are several other groups, like youth and adult hockey programs and the Peconic Wildcats travel team, using the ice rink at designated times. Private skating lessons are available for both children and adults during public skating sessions. For one-on-one instruction, it’s $65 for 30 minutes on weekdays and $70 for 30 minutes on weekends.

During the week prices for public skating are $15 for adults, $12 for children while on the weekends it’s $20 for adults and $15 for children. Skate rentals are available for $6.

Click here to make your rezy.

In East Hampton, Buckskill Winter Club’s (178 Buckskill Road) ice rink is the only refrigerated NHL regulation-sized hockey rink in the Hamptons. Built every year on top of their already existing tennis courts, the outdoor rink at Buckskill opens for public skating this Saturday, November 18, and will remain open every day starting at 7 a.m. throughout the winter season. In addition to being an ice rink for the public, Buckskill also offers a wide range of activities, like kid and adult hockey clinics, private and group skating lessons and figure skating programs led by U.S. Figure Skating Association professionals. Public skating day passes on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are typically $33 for adults, $27 for kids up to age 16, $20 for seniors and $15 for toddlers ages four and under. On Mondays through Thursdays the rates are lower. To view prices click here. Ice skate rentals are $10 each. Although public skating day passes are available in person at the East Hampton locale, it’s recommended to check the online schedules ahead of time as Buckskill usually has a lot of clinics and skating sessions that utilize the entire rink for certain time slots each day.

Public skating is available every day at Buckskill Winter Club. (Photo courtesy of Buckskill Winter Club)

For those looking for more a “old fashioned” skating experience this winter there’s Ryder’s Pond in North Haven set on the corner of Sunset Beach Road and Barclay Drive. A beloved fishing pond for decades, Ryder’s Pond was officially named for the Ryder family, longtime residents of North Haven who lived right next door to the body of water, by Southampton Town back in 2020. Hook Pond, another fishing pond nestled south of the highway in the estate section of East Hampton between Main Beach and the Maidstone Club, also sees a slew of skaters during the cold months. Outdoor Life’s Tim MacWelch writes, “When the ice is two inches (or less) in thickness, don’t leave the shore. Three inches is your bare minimum for ice thickness. Four inches (or more) is recommended for walking, skating and ice fishing on foot.” MacWelch recommends drilling several test holes and to use a measuring tape to check the thickness. He also notes to not skate on waters that have moving water nearby, and to only “venture out onto thick, clear ice.”

Remember when Amy fell into the ice in Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women? Yeah, none of that.