Outdoor ice rink allows students to skate circles around boredom
School’s out, the last of the Christmas cookies have been devoured and even playing video games is getting old.
What to do?
Test your skills at Grand Junction’s only ice skating rink, of course.
That was the thinking for Colorado Mesa University student Zoi Shaw and her friends.
“In Junction there’s like nothing to do,” she said, while lacing up her skates. “There’s the mall … and there’s the mall. That’s about it.”
But, on Sunday, the smiles were wide on the faces of skaters making circle eights and spinning around the outdoor rink off North Third Street, a block north of North Avenue.
Grand Valley Skating Center, 1130 N. Third St., offers expanded open skate times while school is out. For example, public skate times this week will be from 10 a.m.-noon and from 1-3 p.m.
Lily Carson, 11, was all for taking advantage of the public skate times. Sunday was her fourth day in a row skating at the rink.
“It’s just way fun and not really crowded,” she said, after shushing around, making it look easy.
Lily, who had caught the ice skating bug, purchased her own skates a day before. Since frequenting the rink, she had learned to skate in circles and skate on one foot.
Grand Valley Skating Center is run by Ice Skating Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching youth about ice sports and helping them improve skills for competitions.
This is the second year for the center that has been filling a void left when Glacier Ice Arena closed two years ago.
Getting favorable conditions for making and maintaining the ice was tricky earlier this season, but not anymore thanks to temperatures that have plummeted, said Ken Walter, board president.
“This year has been a struggle,” he said, of temperatures earlier this season that were 10 to 15 degrees above normal. “Even though we have refrigeration, the cold temperatures have been wonderful.”
The rink is slightly smaller than regulation, so it cannot be used for matches. It is available for team practices, which also are slated daily. CMU will be offering an ice skating class at the rink next semester, and the center also offers learn-to-skate classes, Walter said.
In the meantime, extended public skate hours this week should be a hit with families, said Sue Buskist, marketing and fundraising coordinator for the center.
“We’re hoping we’ll get the mom and the kids who don’t want to stay at home and watch football,” she said.
For a full listing of open hours and information, visit www. iceskatinginc.com.