For anyone whose vision of ice-skating involves tight loops at an indoor rink, dodging the flailing limbs of children and hearing “All I Want for Christmas Is You” blasted through speakers, the skating loop at Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee may come as a surprise.

The four-and-a-half-mile loop, which the resort touts as the longest outdoor skating track in the United States, traces the edge of the lake under the open sky. On the interior of the lake, resort staff clears a dozen smaller rinks. And if you bring your own skates, it’s free to enjoy.

The family-owned Lake Morey Resort was originally built in 1905, though the building has since been expanded. In the summer, visitors might play a round of golf on its 18-hole course or take a hike at nearby Echo Mountain. In the fall, the resort’s halls often fill with conference attendees. But in the winter, it’s all about the ice, which is usually thick enough for skating by mid-January.

During a normal winter, the resort would host three separate pond-hockey tournaments for teams from all over New England, according to business development director Sarah Howe. On a sunny weekend day, there might be 500 to 700 people out on the skating loop

Though the skating is free, the resort does rent out skates, helmets, and more from a large ballroom by the shore. Mostly it rents Nordic skates, Howe said, which have longer blades that are flat instead of concave, so they don’t cut into the ice as much. They’re typically better for longer distances on rough outdoor ice, whereas hockey or figure skates offer better grip for stops and turns. Skate rentals are free for overnight guests.

According to Source of photos: internet