The Magic of Outdoor Ice

Being in Boston the other week, I was saddened to see all the rinks closing. I know, I know, it means spring is close, and I am ecstatic about that. I am.

I just wish the rinks were open year round.

There is literally nothing like an outdoor rink.

Growing up in New Hampshire, the local indoor rink wasn’t even built until I was seven years old. I grew up skating on ponds and the outdoor rink in the Schouler park. Skating on my double blades, which my coach hated and told me they were the worst thing ever created when she found out I had in used them as a toddler. Oops.

While it wasn’t always the warmest -not that skating is a warm sport by any means – it was always so beautiful. To skate outside with the mountains surrounding you, to be able to skate under the moon or with snow gently falling around you.

It felt like I was the only one in this vast world. Just me, mother nature, and the ice.

Moving to New York four years ago, one of the fist things I did was scope out the ice rinks. Of course everyone knows Rockefeller, but even before I moved I knew how overrated it was. Over priced, tiny and crowded. No thank you. I had moved in March so all the rinks were closing.

During the Spring and summer I skated at Chelsea Piers. As the base for the Skating Club of New York, and home to such skaters as Sarah Hughes, Samantha Cesario, and Johnny Weir, as well as the renown Ice Theatre of New York, it is a rink that is just as passionate about skating as it is about hockey.

The great thing about the city, is that all the outdoor rinks have refrigeration systems on the bottom. This keeps them cool long before and after the polar vortex has made a visit. Where as in New Hampshire, their have been years where the rink hasn’t opened until the middle of January. And unless you want to wear a life vest and rent a canoe, pond skating you do at your own risk.

I was giddy when I learned Rock Center opened the beginning of October and Bryant Park opened early November.

That first year, discovering Bryant Park was like a baby discovering chocolate for the first time. It was heaven. With majestic glass sky scrapers all around, the rink is nestled inside a park of greenery. It was like playing hookey in school and discovering the Garden of Eden all at once!

Since those early days I have spent much time at Bryant Park, and dragged unsuspecting friends with me. Thanks to the warm falls – warm winters too – we have been having, I have been able to skate when it is seventy degrees out. That is an out of body experience in itself, working on my tan AND doing what I love on frozen water? It doesn’t get better then that.

Now they just need to incorporate a rink onto a boardwalk year round, and we would be all set. Unfortunately Bryant Park just closed this week. But Rock Center is open until the end of March. So if you have a chance get some last minute outdoor skating before we are all swept away to the beaches and we have to wait sic months. Who knows you might even see me there! Happy skating!


Practicing my jumps outside.

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