Whether you're trying to channel Michelle Kwan with your figure skating skills, or you're aspiring to be another Wayne Gretzky, or you just like to skate for fun, there will be plenty of upcoming opportunities for the young and old alike to hone their skills on the outdoor ice rinks this season.
There will be two outdoor rinks, both with a pleasure rink and a hockey rink, at Roosevelt School, 619-9th St. N.E., and at Polaris Park, 712-26th Ave. N.W. The outdoor rink at Corbett Field, however, will not be in use again this season after it was damaged by flooding in 2011.
The ice rinks will be open from Dec. 15 until Feb. 15, said auditorium and recreation director Scott Collins. Hours of operation for the rinks at Roosevelt School and Polaris Park are 4 to 9:30 p.m. on weekdays and 2 to 9:30 p.m. on weekends, but closed on Wednesdays for church activities. When kids are off school, the outdoor rinks are open from 2 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and closed on the Christmas and New Year's Day holidays. There are also 30 days of free skating at the All Seasons Arena during the outdoor skating rink season. Skates can be rented at the All Seasons Arena for the indoor free skate times and dates for those skate times can be found on the website www.minotnd.org or by calling the Minot Recreation Commission at 857-4730.
Polaris Park, 712-26th Ave. N.W., is one of two outdoor ice rinks that will be in use this winter season. The rink at Corbett Field was flooded and will not be used again since it didn’t see much use, and the rink at Longfellow, which was also flooded, will not be in use this year either. There are, however, plans to build a third outdoor ice rink in the Perkett School area.
Last year, Collins guessed between 2,500 and 3,000 kids per rink skated on the outdoor rinks. Three counts are taken each day, though, so it's possible that kids could be counted twice or three times if they're skating all day, he noted. Collins said he doesn't know if there will be a bigger crowd of skaters this year since it depends on the weather.
"Warmer weather brings out the kids," he said.
The busiest time for the outdoor rinks is during Christmas vacation, Collins said.
"If we get good ice and it's nice out, the kids can be out there all day long," he said.
Repair work of the other flooded rinks, at Longfellow School and Corbett Field, has been stopped. The rink at Corbett Field was flooded and hasn't been in use for the last few years, Collins noted, so that one will not be used. At Longfellow School, the boards for the rink were torn down and the warming house building will be torn down as well, he added.
Currently, the idea is to build a warming house and pleasure rink at Perkett School, Collins said. The Minot Recreation Commission has applied for a community facilities grant and would also have to go through Minot City Council in order to build the rink at Perkett School, he continued, but that's at least a year out before it would be completed.
One of the benefits to skating on an outdoor rink as opposed to an indoor rink is the option of being able to try skating without having to spend a lot of money, Collins said. Also, skating on an outdoor or an indoor rink is a matter of preference.
"I don't know that it's better (than an indoor rink), but the access is better. A lot of times we see neighborhood kids playing hockey without having to rent ice time," he said.