Ice Rink readies for new season

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By Kirsten Laskey

In 1947, the Ranch School built an oval ice rink in Los Alamos Canyon. The boys created this smooth patch of ice by flooding and damming a tiny canyon creek. Little did they know that today more than 20,000 people visit their rink.

The mad rush to the ice rink for this season will begin at 11:30 a.m. Friday.  

The activities, which are co-sponsored by the Los Alamos Recreation Division and the Los Alamos Hockey Association, include a practice session for the local hockey team, the ATOMS from 5:15-6:15 p.m. Friday.

The Los Alamos High School Hilltoppers will host the Albuquerque OutKast from 7-8:15 p.m. Friday.Then, from 8:30-10 p.m., there will be a  Rockin’ Skate Party that is open to all skaters. During the party, there will be free admission and free skate rentals.

Saturday, there will be an introduction to hockey from 4:15-6:15 p.m. the Los Alamos Hockey Association will have coaches on hand to put some basic gear on skaters and give them a taste of hockey. Individuals can handle a puck, skate and take a few shots.

The Los Alamos Rink has grown a lot since creek water was used to create its ice. For several days the Los Alamos Rink staff work through the night making ice and painting lines to get the rink ready for the public.

Dianne Marquez, manager of the ice rink, explained the staff makes sure the ice measures an inch-and-a-half or an inch thick for skaters.

Even during the season, Marquez said the staff dedicates three hours every day to ice maintenance.

Their efforts help ensure the rink, which is truly unique in New Mexico, continues to be available to the public.

“It is the last outdoor rink in New Mexico,” Marquez said. “It is really the only place that you come skate out under the stars, (with) the snow … (you can see) just how beautiful it is down there in the canyon.”

Besides the opening weekend festivities, the rink offers other special activities throughout the season. Next week, the Turkey Bowling event will be held. Participants attempt to knock down pins using either a frozen turkey or  a Cornish hen. There will be a chance to win prizes or a Thanksgiving dinner.

Next, will be the skate with Santa event. It’s an opportunity to get a picture taken with Santa and his helpers. Christmas Eve will host the Luminaria skate. Participants can enjoy holiday music, lights and hot cocoa while they skate. A new event this year is the “Say Aloha to the New Year,” event which will be held on New Year’s Eve.

Marquez said hopefully a lot of people will come down to the rink “to enjoy a safe New Year’s Eve at the rink.”

Whether it is a holiday event or just a public skate time, everyone is encouraged to head over to the ice rink.

Marquez said the rink offers fun for all ages and for the whole family. “It’s something different. You can hang out with your friends,” she said. “It’s just the coolest place to be!”