HIT THE ICE
Grab a warm hat and pair of gloves, and lace up some skates for the quintessential winter activity: ice skating! While the Inland Northwest is usually home to numerous frozen bodies of water during winter's months — we don't recommend you try this — the easiest (and safest) bet is to visit one of the region's land-bound rinks.
The NUMERICA SKATE RIBBON in Riverfront Park opened for the 2022-23 season last weekend and has a full slate of special events and activities. Visitors can drop in during regular hours, seven days a week (Sun-Thu from 11 am to 8 pm; Fri-Sat from 11 am-9 pm) or pick up unlimited ice passes ($28-$39) for access all season long. Regular admission is $7-$10, with skate rentals for $7 more.
Among the many fun, themed events this holiday season at the Skate Ribbon is a series of Skate for a Cause nights in partnership with local nonprofits, which get 30 percent of admission fees. The $15 events (skate rental included), happen from 4-8 pm on the following dates: Nov. 30 (Habitat for Humanity) and Dec. 14 (Spokane Parks Foundation), plus three more in January.
Enjoy DJ Night on the Ice with DJA1, funky lights and contests every Friday evening from 6-9 pm in December and January, and on New Year's Eve. Learn to Skate group lessons ($110 for seven sessions) start on Dec. 3, co-hosted by Lilac City Figure Skating. See the park's website for details on these and other events at riverfrontspokane.com.
While skating on Lake Coeur d'Alene isn't (usually) possible, the next best thing is skating near its shores. Back this year for its second run is Coeur d'Alene on Ice, a seasonal skating rink in McEuen Park near the pavilion.
Although it's a pop-up, amenities like fire pits and decorated, rentable igloo shelters create a festive feeling, and there's a "snack shack" with cookies, s'mores kits and — of course — hot cocoa. Skating sessions are 90 minutes each ($14-$18; skate rental included). Find daily hours, purchase tickets or make reservations at cdaonice.com.
SPOKANE CHIEFS' TEDDY BEAR TOSS
Can't make it over to Seattle for a Kraken game? Catch some action on the ice right here, when the Spokane Chiefs take on the Lethbridge Hurricanes in a game that includes the Chiefs' popular holiday tradition: the Teddy Bear Toss. Bring a stuffed animal to the game and get ready to toss it onto the ice after the Chiefs score their first goal. All those cute plushies — the record set in 2019 is 8,604, can we beat it? — are then collected for the Spokesman-Review's Christmas Bureau fundraiser. 7:05 pm, $12-$20, Spokane Arena, spokanechiefs.com
MT. SPOKANE NIGHT SKIING KICKOFF
Yeah, we all hate that it gets dark at 4 pm this time of year, but you can still make the most of those too early sunsets up on the runs at Mt. Spokane, which kicks off its night skiing schedule just days before the official shortest day of the year; this year's winter solstice on Wednesday, Dec. 21. The 2022 night-skiing schedule is 3 to 9 pm, every Wednesday through Saturday until March 11. Mt. Spokane boasts 16 lighted runs — more than any other resort in the region — so even if you get a late start on the day, say, if you head up after work, it'll still be well worth the effort. Wed-Sat from 3-9 pm, $40-$75 single lift tickets, Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park, 29500 N. Mt. Spokane Park Drive, mtspokane.com
SKI WITH SANTA
Though he lives in one of the coldest and snowiest spots on the planet, the Big Man in Red also enjoys getting out of the house, so to speak, for a well-deserved pre-Christmas break. Santa and Mrs. Claus never miss a visit to Schweitzer as part of their annual holiday traditions. Kids on the nice list can look for the famous duo on the beginner and intermediate runs (1-3:30 pm), or later on in the cozy confines of the Selkirk Lodge, apres ski. Schweitzer, 10000 N. Schweitzer Mountain Rd., Sandpoint. schweitzer.com
SLEIGH RIDE, DINNER & CONCERT
"Come on, it's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you..." So, load up the car and head north to Sandpoint for one of the region's few horse-drawn sleigh ride excursions at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch. While sleigh rides (or a wagon ride if there's no snow) are offered throughout the winter season, special holiday excursions include a ride to pick out a fresh Christmas tree, and a series at the end of the year with a post-ride dinner and a concert. After a ride through the peaceful winter forest, warm up with a hearty dinner in the lodge that's followed by an intimate concert by a local musician. These events sell out quickly, but as of this writing there are still seats left for select dates. Make a night of it and book an overnight stay at the lodge. $75-$100, Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, 1413 Upper Gold Creek Rd., Sandpoint, westernpleasureranch.com ♦