It doesn’t happen often, but once in a while the lakes around Banff freeze perfectly clear. It’s always a big deal with the locals who enjoy ice skating and playing hockey on the most beautiful outdoor skating rinks in the world.

This photo was taken on Vermillion Lakes, but I’ve also had these great skating conditions at Johnson Lake and Carrot Creek on other years.

It’s quite unnerving to skate along the crystal clear glassy surface. It’s difficult to tell how thick the ice is while you’re standing, and you can clearly see the bottom of the lake with your shadow being cast well away from where your feet are. It feels like you’re going to break through and have a cold swim at any second.

Location: Vermillion Lakes, Banff, Alberta, Canada