Outdoor fun doesn’t stop when temperatures drop. In fact, winter fun is just getting started at the MetroParks Ice Rink, 237 E. Monument Ave., at RiverScape MetroPark in downtown Dayton. The rink offers picturesque views of the Great Miami River and fun for the entire family. Admission is $5, and skate rentals are $2.
“I’ve been to outdoor facilities across the country, and the MetroParks Ice Rink is by far the best I’ve been to,” said Katie Heine, MetroParks’ ice skating instructor. “The ice surface is great, the rink is accessible and it’s a really special thing to have in our city.”
Heine, 21, has been skating since the age of 5 and has many accolades, in addition to years of teaching experience. She will be teaching child, teen and adult skating lessons at the MetroParks Ice Rink on Sundays throughout the winter season. Each session runs three consecutive Sundays, with starting dates on Jan. 8, and Feb. 5.
Below are Heine’s top five fun facts, tips and tricks that will help you get out on the ice this winter:
1) Dress for the occasion: MetroParks Ice Rink is an outdoor rink, so naturally temperatures can be chilly. Dress for the weather in layers, so if you become too warm you can adjust. Rental skates are available and should be comfortable, but snug. Skates should be laced from bottom to top with the laces crisscrossed and looped through the eyelets.
“The skates at MetroParks Ice Rink are all figure skates and fit similar to your shoe size,” Heine said.
Ensuring your skates are laced properly will help prevent falls and provide ankle support.
2) You might fall, and that’s okay: Heine noted that falling is a common fear among adults, parents and kids. Most skaters will probably fall, but knowing how to fall correctly is the key to staying safe on the ice. If you feel like you may fall bend your knees and put your hands out in front of you into a squatting position. If you can, try to fall on your hip. After you have fallen, stand yourself up with both hands on the ice. Wear gloves to help protect your hands if you fall and need to get back up.
Additionally, if you are scared of falling in front of your friends and strangers, just know that there’s a good chance that everyone has fallen at one point or another. No need to be embarrassed, as falling happens to everyone – even seasoned skaters.
Parent pro tip: Avoid picking up or carrying a child while on the ice. No one wants their child to fall, however picking up your child may throw off your balance and cause you to fall with your child.
3) Winter workout: As entertaining as it is to skate with your family and friends, it might not seem like a workout session. The good news is skating is a serious calorie-burner. In fact, a 150-pound woman can burn more than 350 calories during a 60-minute skating session. A MetroParks Ice Rink admission and skate rental is comparable to a boot camp or yoga class, so bundle up and burn off that piece of Thanksgiving pumpkin pie with extra whipped cream!
4) Team kids vs. team grown-ups: According to Heine, children are more fearless while adults are more purposeful when learning how to skate. Though children may be less afraid when it comes to falling, adults are interested in honing their technical skills. The commonality is that skating skills can be easily picked up by both age groups.
5) So many benefits: The benefits of being active are well-documented and apply to people of all ages. The Mayo Clinic reports that weight control, improved mood, increased energy and reduced probability of developing disease can all be contributed to exercise. In addition to all the benefits associated with daily exercise, those who skate enjoy unique benefits, especially those who start skating at a young age.
“Ice skating improves balance, core strength, self-confidence and overall coordination,” said Heine.
Adults, kids and teens can join Heine for skating lessons at MetroParks Ice Rink by registering online at metroparks.org/skating or by calling 937-275-PARK (7275).
The MetroParks Ice Rink is presented by Mikesell’s and will be open daily through Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, including special holiday hours. The rink also will be open during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, as well as during other holidays throughout the season. Visit metroparks.org/icerink for the complete schedule.
Season passes are available: $75 family passes cover season-long admission and skate rentals for up to five people, and $40 individual passes cover the same costs for one person.
MetroParks Ice Rink season passes and skating lessons make a wonderful holiday gift and can be purchased online. Gift certificates may be purchased at the rink.