It is with regret that the Eco-Odyssee Nature Park team announces the temporary closure of its ice trails for the winter of 2023-2024.
Complex conditions for operating natural ice
Several factors lead the park management to make this difficult decision. Winter conditions are becoming increasingly uncertain, and managing natural ice poses challenges that most land-based ice trails do not encounter.
Eco-Odyssey Nature Park, like the Rideau Canal, has a skating rink located on a body of water. To open this type of ice trail, the temperature must be maintained below zero for several consecutive days. It also requires a minimum of 10 inches of ice.
Moreover, the winter of 2023 marked the first time in 50 years that the Rideau Canal, the world’s largest skating rink located in Ottawa, could not open to visitors.
A decision influenced by the winter of 2022-2023
The winter of 2022-2023 greatly influenced the decision to temporarily close the ice maze. The Director of Operations, Olivier Rocheleau Leclair, states that the difficult weather conditions of last winter, characterized by extreme fluctuations, created considerable challenges. Regular concerns were raised by experienced skaters about the quality of the ice, attributed to poor weather conditions.
Last winter was particularly marked by excessive periods of snow and rain, creating a precarious balance to maintain a quality skating rink. The dynamic nature of the maze, located in a constantly evolving natural environment with water flows, added additional complexity. The Director of Operations also emphasizes that the park is only in its third year of operation, highlighting the ongoing need to learn and adapt to this specific terrain.
Possible opening for winter 2023-2024
Although the ice maze is currently not available, the site will be open for other winter activities, including 5 km snowshoe trails.
The possibility of offering visitors the opportunity to skate on frozen canals in the forest will be evaluated based on favorable weather conditions.
Details and opening dates for other activities are yet to be determined, but everything will be posted on the website and social media, and communicated via the newsletter.
Hoping for favorable weather conditions for winter sports, we wish you a beautiful winter season!
- The Eco-Odyssee Nature Park Team