5 Tips for Narrowing Down that Perfect Outdoor Skating Spot
With the coldest months of the year closing in, it’s time to take a beat and highlight a topic for skaters at every level: finding the best outdoor skating spot. That includes the casual skating ventures at a local recreation center, rustic skating at a lake or a pond, and finding a funded outdoor venue to rent some ice time.
At Riedell Ice, we provide casual and competitive hand-crafted ice skates on a global scale. Skaters have been using our boots and blades in various capacities for over 75 years. Looking for an outdoor rink? We’ve brainstormed a list of five tips to help you narrow down the best of the best.
#1 Join an Ice-Skating Community Group Online
First and truly foremost, get connected with a community of other skaters – and that goes for competitive skaters as well as hobbyists and families. Social media groups in particular have a wealth of information on local and non-local outdoor rinks. With this info, you can find the best places to skate depending on the season, crowds, family-friendliness, and so much more.
And of course, you can’t dismiss the connections you could make in these communities. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find a group of like-minded ice skaters at the same experience level as you. One minute you’re searching for a new rink, the next you’ve got a group of friends to challenge your game.
#2 Look for a Rink With Good Maintenance
You could find the most beautiful park or rink, surrounded by luscious pine trees and chocked full of opportunities for training. But that’s all for naught if there’s no one to maintain and service the rink. Skating ice needs tender love and care. That means a Zamboni to keep it smooth and clean – or, at the very least, regular snow blowing and shoveling.
Don’t forget about the rest of the rink experience. Outside the rink, you’ll want facilities that are well cleaned and stocked – that’s lockers, bathrooms, vending machines, and all the extra offerings that make an outdoor rink a full experience.
#3 Consider the Outdoor Rink’s Security Measures
Security is so important. Some of the most fun ice skating is at night (and let’s face it, it’s getting dark earlier and earlier during these cold months). But nighttime also means you should be on your guard for safety’s sake.
How are the lights at this rink? Is the rink in view of residential homes or public buildings or is it tucked away? An outdoor rink hidden in a forest or on a lake may be a romantic adventure, but is it the practical choice if you’re skating by yourself or with limited security? Of course, this is all relative to the skater. Children, for example, will need a much more cautious approach.
#4 Remember the Lakes and Ponds!
We mentioned lakes and by no means do we think you should shy away from them. Lakes and ponds are those naturally forming rinks that need only a bit of facilitation to become a wonderful experience for all.
There are a few things you’ll want to consider as you look for the right lake or pond rink:
- How clean is the surface? You don’t want to risk tripping, especially if it’s a family event.
- Has the ice been checked for thickness recently? Thin ice = huge hazard.
- What about the smoothness of the surface? Lakes and ponds that freeze in a more natural state may not start out so smooth. These surfaces need a little bit of work to get to that point.
#5 Get to Know the Rink First
You can’t really know whether you’ve found the perfect outdoor rink without giving one a try first. Once you’ve checked off the list—location, security, maintenance—the next step is seeing if the place is right for you.
Some people, for example, don’t like huge crowds around them while they’re skating. Others may prefer crowds. Hitting the rink a few different times in a week should give you an idea of what to expect for the future.
You also can’t know for certain how well the rink is maintained if you don’t get out there and see for yourself – unless of course public recreation organizations have this matter listed.
Be Prepared With the Right Ice Skates
Our final suggestion: make sure you’re well-equipped when you start skating. Test out your skates before you begin. How’s the fit? Are the blades too dull? Riedell Ice has a wide range of boots and blades fit for skaters at any level.
We also know how kids can outgrow their skates, that’s why we’ve developed this line of casual ice skate options for families. The junior and standard models of these skates also come in similar colors, so parents and kids can match!
Check out our catalog or give us a call to learn more!