by Sue Freeman
Ice skating was an integral part of my childhood. My street backed up to the Erie Canal, so in winter, my brothers and I toted our skates and snow shovels down the rocky embankment, into the lowered Erie Canal. We shoveled away the snow and spent many wonderful hours playing hockey and pretending to be Olympic ice skaters on the often bumpy surface. For a smoother glide, we piled into the car and went to the outdoor rink at Potter Memorial Park in Fairport.
Years later at Holiday Harbour in Canandaigua, I shoveled a large area of the boat canals and invited a gang of friends over for a rousing game of broom hockey, followed by hot chocolate in my parent’s house. These were examples of ice skating in its raw, natural form – with lots of shoveling involved, and a high tolerance for bumpy ice. A potential skating rink exists anywhere you have shallow water such as a pond or canal that freezes solidly. For instance, people like to skate on Long Pond in Greece.
If you prefer less physical prep work and smoother ice, you probably want to opt for an indoor ice rink. You’ll have to pay a fee but ice rinks often offer skate rentals and a warmer environment or a warming hut. Ice rinks in the Rochester area offer open public skating as well as hockey leagues, and skating lessons. They even provide options for birthday parties and special events. Visit the web site for specifics on each venue.
- Manhattan Square Park and Ice Rink, downtown Rochester was renovated & expanded in 2008, www.cityofrochester.gov/article.aspx?id=8589935137
-The Sports Center at MCC in Henrietta, www.tscmcc.com/page/show/223069-public-skating
-Frank Ritter Memorial Ice Arena at RIT in Henrietta, www.rit.edu/studentaffairs/ciar/facilities_icearena.php
-Lakeshore Hockey Arena on Ling Road in Rochester, www.lakeshorehockeyarena.com
-Scottsville Ice Arena in Scottsville, www.scottsvilleicearena.com
-Genesee Valley Sports Complex Ice Skating Rink in Rochester, www.cityofrochester.gov/GVPSC
-Village Sports Ice Skating Rink on Baird Road in Fairport, www.villagesports.net
-Webster Ice Arena in Webster, www.websterarena.org
-Thomas Creek Ice Arena on Lyndon Road in Fairport, www.tcice.com
-Tuttle North Ice Arena in Brockport, www.brockport.edu/recservices/ice_arena/index.html
-Greater Canandaigua Civic Center in Canandaigua, www.gccc.org
For good free fun, outdoor rinks can be found at Churchville Park, Ellison Park, Highland Park, Fairport Junction Ice Arena next to the Box Factory in Fairport, and Veteran’s Memorial Park in Henrietta. There may be others in your neighborhood. In addition to being free, these rinks come pre-shoveled and are watered regularly to provide a smooth surface. Of course, you’re unlikely to have the rink to yourself as you would on a do-it-yourself pond.
Many ice rinks rent skates but, for a pair of your own, visit the Fairport or Canandaigua locations of RVE Bike & Skate (www.rvebike.com/skates.html), Rochester’s premier ice skate retailer. They’ll help you find the perfect pair for a winter full of skating fun.