Take a chance this winter

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A photo of someone standing on ice in ice skates. The ice is scratched up and may be a frozen lake. Only the person’s skates and jeans are visible.
You can skate on lakes, but we have a perfectly good arena to use instead.  995645 via Pixabay

Slip and fall on the ice no more – learn to skate on it instead!

Ice skating is a fun recreational winter activity for all ages, but there are some things you should know about it. Skating can be done as long as you have access to ice skates and solid ice, but it is always recommended that a person skates in dedicated ice rinks and with the proper equipment.  

The skating season lasts all winter long, but some smaller ice rinks will shut down as soon as the weather goes over 0 C because the cost to run their ice plant is too great. For those unfamiliar with Regina skating programming, check the drop-in program schedule on the Real District website for the Co-operators Centres skating program times.  

The Co-operators Centre, located at 1700 Elphinstone Street, currently offers public skating on weekdays from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. They also offer Parent & Tot, Drop-in Hockey, Figure Skating, and Senior Skate sessions on weekdays as well.  

Public Skate, Parent & Tot, and Senior Skate sessions are free of charge, but the other sessions are not. Rates are found on the website, as well as additional rules for each type of skating session. Helmets are only mandatory for Drop-In Ice & Ball Hockey, but are strongly recommended for all sessions.  

Staying safe is important; while ice can be more forgiving than concrete, they both hurt to wipe out on. 

Other indoor arenas like the Al Ritchie Arena, Clarence Mahon Arena, and Murray Balfour Arena currently offer public skating hours. Their times and fees can be found on the regina.ca website under the “Recreation Facilities” webpage under the “Parks, Recreation & Culture” section.  

Outdoor ice rinks can be found around Regina, but the City of Regina will no longer be maintaining the condition of the ice (flooding and cleaning) after Mar 8, 2024. Outdoor rinks currently open for skating, according to the regina.ca website, include Sherwood Park, McNab Park, Joanne Goulet (Westhill), Eastview Park, Leslie Park, City Square Plaza/Victoria Park, Lakeview Park, Mike Badham Park, Glencairn Park, University Park, Imperial School, and McMurchy Park. A comprehensive list can be found on the City of Regina website. 

It’s also important to note that skating on lakes, ponds, or creeks is never 100 per cent safe, as there can be free-flowing water beneath the surface or ice may be more thin than you bargained for. If you are wanting a dose of fresh air and sunshine while skating, the official outdoor ice rinks in the city are the way to go. 

Ice skating equipment can be bought at dedicated stores like Extreme Hockey or Sports Exchange in Regina, with Sports Exchange selling second-hand sports equipment of all kinds. Online markets such as Facebook Marketplace or VarageSale are also great places to look for second-hand skates. 

If buying equipment is out of your budget or you feel you will only need them for a short period of time, consider borrowing skates from a friend or loaning out equipment from Ehrlo Sport Venture Library. According to their website, “all you need is to come in and provide your name, contact information, and one piece of ID.” 

Ice skating, like all sports, is beneficial for your physical and mental health. According to the City of Kettering’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department, ice skating is great for cardiovascular health. Their website says, “Skating works nearly every muscle group in the body, and gliding requires synchronized movement of the legs, which is important for joint flexibility. It also builds up the leg and abdominal muscles.”  

Skating also improves your coordination and balance. Learning to stand and skate can be a challenge, but after the wobbles go away, balancing on a thin blade can improve your overall sense of balance and coordination. Since skating is a low-impact form of exercising, more challenging than walking but easier on the joints than running, it has the added benefit of stress reduction found in most cardiovascular exercises.  

Ice skating can be a great winter activity if you know where to go, what to wear, and where to get it. Check out local rinks and arenas before the season is up, and remember to dress for the weather. The insides of ice rinks may not be as cold as the average Regina winter day, but remember that ice is only ice in sub-zero temperatures. Stay warm everyone! 

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