Minot's sub-zero temperatures have lifted for the time being and the Winter Olympics are less than a month away, and those two factors may be inspiration alone for kids to venture outside to the skating rinks and get some exercise or entertain visions of Olympic glory.
According to Scott Collins, Minot Recreation Commission director, the outdoor skating season has been good so far. "We only had to close one day due to the cold, but the ice is good," he added. The Minot Park District has done a good job in maintaining the rinks, too, Collins said, and there have been no problems with the rinks or skaters.
The recent spell of extremely cold temperatures caused a decrease in outdoor skaters, though. Collins said they try to keep the warming houses open. "But when it's so cold that it takes your breath away, you won't be outside long anyway," he added.
A local family scrimmages Monday evening on the ice at Corbett Field’s outdoor rink. Maintained by the Minot Park
District, the rink is one of several available to the public for the winter.
Collins didn't have an estimate of the ideal temperature for a spin around the rink, but thought anywhere from zero to 30 degrees would draw people to the ice. "I've gone by the rinks when it's 30 (degrees) and lots of kids were out skating," he said, but every kid is different. When it's cold and kids are outside playing hockey and are skating from one side of the rink to the other, they don't notice the temperature, Collins added.
In total, there are five outdoor rinks. Polaris Park and Roosevelt Elementary each have a hockey and pleasure rink with warming houses, and there's a sheet of ice at Corbett Field but no warming house. The rinks are open from 4 to 9:30 p.m. each weekday except for
Wednesdays so that people can attend church activities. On weekends, the rinks are open from 2 to 9:30 p.m.
Next year an additional outdoor hockey and pleasure rink will be added at Perkett Elementary, as well as a warming house, Collins said. Construction will hopefully be complete by this spring or summer and ready to go for the next winter season. The outdoor rinks at Perkett will replace the ones lost at Longfellow Elementary following the 2011 flood.
"A lot of the kids like to play pick-up hockey games," Collins said, about the draw to skating outside. Also, a lot of parents and grandparents like to take their children and grandchildren to the pleasure rink to skate around, he added.
In addition to skating at the outdoor rinks, people can also skate for free at the All Seasons Arena. If interested, people can call the Minot Recreation Commission at 857-4730 for the All Season's Arena skating schedule.