The extreme cold weather outside has broken and it looks like a great time to take advantage of the multiple locations in town for outdoor skating. Whether you enjoy figure skating or a good old game of shinny, there are a couple of rules to follow and things to know before you strap on your skates.
Outdoor skating is available at the Lions Outdoor rink located at the agricultural grounds, Terry Ray Clark Park (at Parkview Estates and Parkwood Crescent) as well as Kinsmen Lake and Strathmore Lakes.
Geoff Person, Manager of Communications for The Town of Strathmore says,
“I know that there are a lot of people who are excited to have much milder weather this week. We’re keeping a close eye on outdoor skating facilities, but we’re pretty confident that the ice will hold up to warmer temperatures this week.”
Person explained that as the ground is still very cold, the skating surfaces generally stay frozen during chinooks.
“The outdoor rink has a lot of shade with exception of the northwest corner that sometimes can get slushy as the sun shines directly on it. This happens only in the consistently warm weather, especially if it is warm over night. If it stays cold overnight then generally the ice surfaces stay frozen,” he said
“Our parks team measures ice at Strathmore Lake and Kinsmen Lake. There are signs posted at the four corners of each pond indicating the ice depth and if the ice is safe to skate on. Because we take equipment onto the ponds to clear the snow for skating surfaces, every time the equipment goes onto the ice we do measurements and observations on the quality of ice. All staff who are required to go onto the ice receive ice rescue training and learn how to evaluate the quality of ice.”
Ice thickness and good quality ice for skating are both important factors.
Person says, “Thick poor quality ice is as dangerous as thin ice. We also maintain a certain speed on the ice when using equipment to clear snow as going too fast will cause the water to move under the ice which can then cause a pressure crack that can be difficult to see. A pressure crack is then a weak spot which can cause a piece of equipment or a person to fall through the ice.”
If you plan on heading out to enjoy a skate, don’t forget to follow COVID-19 protocols. Stay home if you feel sick and maintain two meters of physical distance from those who are not members of your household.
Find out more about recreation in Strathmore by visiting strathmore.ca/winter.