Skating rink ready to go

Keremeos skating rink ready to go for new season.

If the weather holds out the outdoor ice rink at the Similkameen Recreation Centre will slide into operation this year without any challenges.

“This has been the best weather for putting in ice,” facility manager Karl Donoghue said. “We’re right on track for opening.”

Last year staff battled a bout of warm weather days before the rink was supposed to open.

“We’d finished about 90 per cent. Then it melted so it was a scramble to get it ready for the opening,” he said.

Extensive work had to be done to the rink twice last season because of warm temperatures.

“That’s the thing about outdoor rinks any weather condition weather it’s sunny, too warm, windy or even too cold has an effect. If it’s too cold actually the ice becomes brittle,” he said.

The rink traditionally opens during Light Up weekend.

Donoghue only remembers one year that it didn’t open on time.

“We had an equipment malfunction and there wasn’t anything we could do about that. It opened only a week late,” he said.

The official opening of the rink takes place Sunday from 1p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and is sponsored by Pharmasave.

Donoghue said a full slate of free skates are expected over the two months and he’s currently working on the schedule which, will be out before the schools break for the holidays.

During the break sponsors have also come forward to make sure the rink is open everyday for children and family skates.

Other good news at the rink is the number of children signed up for skating lessons.

“It’s the highest we’ve seen it in years,” Donoghue said.

About 40 children are signed up in the two different age categories from three to six years old and seven and up.

Lessons start December 9 and are held on Wednesdays and Sundays.

An instructor is coming in from the Glengarry Skating Club and local volunteers will be out on the ice to help teach the youngsters.

Donoghue hopes the weather will hold out and the rink can stay operational till its closing date of January 24.

“It will be fine now but it’s January that’s the problem,” he said.