Baby, it’s cold outside. But falling temps don’t mean you have to stay huddled at home. Take on a sport that will have you welcoming the winter temps: ice skating.
Paige Brunclik, community outreach assistant for the parks department of Oconomowoc, says it’s a “definite tradition, grabbing your skates and heading out to Fowler Lake or Lac La Belle when the ice is ready. Our parks department grooms the ice as soon as it's thick enough, and we maintain it throughout the ice skating season. From parents with little ones, hockey players practicing after school to seniors, we see everyone enjoying the ice. And that gives us the warm fuzzies.”
Want to join the legions of families who annually head to a rink? If you want to create memories on the ice, but are new to the sport, consider investing in a class or two. It may look easy, but ice skating is a skill individuals hone for years. Of course, when little ones are acclimating to the ice, it’s important to take safety measures too. Helmets, knee pads and elbow pads will help protect injury-prone areas. Also, be sure skates fit properly. You want to make sure ankles are supported and laces are tied securely. Anyone seasoned on the ice—an ice skater or a hockey player—can show you the best way to lace up.
Get out on the ice!
So, when the weather outside isn’t too frightful, round up the family for a fun day of skating. Welcome the cold, open your arms (you’ll have to, in order to keep your balance), and show off those moves at the rink!
Downtown Milwaukee -- Red Arrow Park
920 N. Water Street
Located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, Slice of Ice brings you a park setting in an urban environment. Plus, they host a long skating season. Their refrigerated rink can host skaters from December through February, even into March when weather permits. Added benefit: there is a warming house filled with creature comforts. The rink is open to 100 skaters at a time and is bordered by a 3-foot-6-inch railing. The railing is perfect for little ones who may need to build up ankle strength. Skate rental is available, admission is free.
Suburbs -- Lakes of Oconomowoc
Fowler Lake -- 500 Oakwood Avenue
Lac La Belle -- 324 W. Wisconsin Avenue
When conditions at Fowler Lake or Lac La Belle in Oconomowoc are right—the park district measures the ice in three places, insuring the ice is 12 inches thick, minimum— the skating area is plowed, shaved smoothed and groomed for ice skaters. It’s free to skate, and there are benches for skaters to sit at, so you can put on your skates easily. There are no skate rentals, you’ll have to bring your own. There are classes for the little ones though. Group lessons are available for ages 6-8 and ages 9 and up.
Pettit Center -- 500 S. 84th Street, Milwaukee
Wilson Ice Arena -- 4001 S. 20th Street, Milwaukee
Okay, let’s be honest, the elements aren’t for everyone. No problem, you and your family can still get in the holiday ice skating spirit at the Pettit Center or the Wilson Ice Arena. Added incentive: Pettit has classes for all little ones, teens and adults, skate classes for individuals with intellectual disabilities and hockey instruction.