I loved ice skating when I was young. During the 1970’s in Connecticut the best skating was outside, a field would ice over and all the neighborhood kids would gather with skates and hockey sticks. Cities and parks would sponsor outdoor skating rinks by flooding fields and bonfires would be lite to keep skaters warm.
It was wonderful. I learned to skate with my Dad. He skated backwards and held my hands. Didn’t matter if the ice was bumpy, or cracks made one fall down. It was the whole experience. Even when it snowed, then shovels came our clear the skating area. Always thought figure skating inside was cheating in a way, although I liked the smooth ice, it’s just not the same.
This rink at Eugene Mahoney State Park in Ashland, Nebraska combines the best of both worlds. A prepared, maintained surface gives the luxury of skating on “good” ice, while the open air pavilion maintains the natural feeling of skating outside. I taught my daughter to skate here and it’s a annual tradition around Christmas to spend a few hours on the ice. The park is located halfway between Omaha and Lincoln and we are very lucky and fortunate the park is so close, skating in the winter and swimming in the summer.