Josh Morrisey

What is an Ice Ribbon?

Josh Morrisey, City of Spokane Parks & Recreation, Marketing Assistant, 509.625.6236

Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 4:36 p.m.

What is an Ice Ribbon?

Updated: 12/08/2017

Excitement is building around the December 8 grand opening of Riverfront Park’s new Ice Ribbon - the first of its kind on the west coast. While those who have visited or heard about ice ribbons such as the one in Chicago’s Maggie Daley Park can’t wait to strap on their ice skates, others are simply wondering, “What is an ice ribbon?”


“It all started almost 20 years ago,” says Stantec Associate Jim Maland in a blog from the ice ribbon architect’s website. “I was in Sweden and saw this curious little refrigerated skating trail, running up a steep hill to a small park building from a large Bandy sports rink. The Bandy players were using the trail to access the restrooms on the top of the hill - it wasn’t intended to be a public skating trail; you had to be a mountain goat to navigate the steep trail grade. My initial thought was, ‘we’ve got to do something like this in a park, only tame it down a bit.’”

10 ice ribbon projects later, Stantec is the leader in ice ribbon design, and they’re excited to bring the west coast's first ice ribbon to Spokane Washington.

Measuring 16’ wide and 700’ long, Riverfront Park’s ice ribbon invites skaters to explore the dips and climbs of a wandering ice trail, discover scenic urban views or cozy up with hot cocoa at one of three fire pits.  As the day turns to night, the glow from overhead bistro lights sets the mood for an unbeatably cool adventure. In the summer, the ice ribbon transforms into a pathway that can be used for anything from recreation like roller-skating and strider-biking to events like art walks and food truck rallies.

Nearly every day this winter The Ice will be programmed with fun activities like free ice skating lessons, cheap skate nights, live music, themed dress up events (even for the dogs!), happy hours, and even yoga on ice! We have wonderful sponsors on board to help provide free and low-cost programs. Take a look at the Winter 2017/2018 Activity Guide for a peek at programming.

It’s not just the ribbon either. Beautiful landscaping around the new ribbon including large basalt columns, 43,000 sq. feet of grass, and 25 freshly planted trees create stunning texture and evoke the essence of the Northwest.

The ice ribbon will share a ticketing facility with the SkyRide where visitors can rent skates or purchase concessions to enjoy in a large windowed dining area. The SkyRide will open in spring 2018.

Ice Ribbon FAQ:

Where can I find examples of other ice ribbons?

  • Maggie Daley Park in Chicago; Washington Canal Park in Washington D.C.; Central Park in Maple Grove, Minnesota; and the NIBCO Water and Ice Park in Elkhart, Indiana are a few examples of other ice ribbons in the country.

Are the dips and climbs in the ice ribbon steep?

  • Nope! They are very gradual for skaters of all skill levels to easily navigate.

What will happen in the summer?

  • In the warmer months, the ice ribbon transforms to host a wide variety of activities such as roller-skating, strider-biking, art walks, food truck rallies, and much more.

What happens when it snows?

  • During operational hours, the Olympia ice resurfacer can comfortably remove 2 inches of snow at a time and the frequency at which it runs on the ice can be adjusted depending on snowfall. For heavy overnight snow, staff is equipped to blow out the ribbon before opening.

When will The Ice open?

  • The Ice will officially open on December 8 at 5:00 PM and the season is anticipated to last through early March (temperature depending).

How much is hourly admission?

  • $6.50 for adults and $4.50 for children (2-12).

How much is skate rental?

  • $4.50

Will there be season passes?

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