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A look into the Stephen C. West Ice Arena

The wind is howling outside. The temperature is below zero. The kids are bouncing off the walls, and threatening to turn the bedroom into a trampoline circus. “Go outside and play” really isn’t an option. Most likely, you came to Breckenridge to ski, or ride, or get outside and take advantage of our “winter wonderland.” But when Mother Nature refuses to cooperate, what are you supposed to do?  I’ll bet you didn’t know that Breckenridge is home to a world class indoor ice rink — and during the winter, we have an outdoor rink, too! As a skating coach and volunteer, I spend a tremendous amount of time at the rink, and I LOVE seeing all the visitors enjoy our facilities. Don’t know how to ice skate? No worries — there are “training” stands that can be used on the ice, or there’s always the option to join group classes or hire a private coach. When I first started skating, I thought group lessons would be a waste if I wasn’t able to sign up for several weeks of lessons. And hiring a private coach? Seriously? That’s only for REAL skaters, right? Wrong. As a skating coach, I specialize in beginners — my youngest student is three and my oldest student is 52. My entire agenda is to teach people how to have fun on the ice, and to try and take away the “fear factor.” Some of my students hire me on a weekly basis; some are just a one-time lesson. The choice is yours. The point is just to have fun and to learn enough to be safe. Group lessons are also available. They normally run in six-week segments, but that doesn’t mean you HAVE to be there for all six weeks. Use whatever time allocation works best for you or your kids.

 When it comes to learning to skate — or just enjoying yourself on the ice — there’s no “figure skating” or “hockey skating.” The fundamentals of all types of skating are the same. The rink has both hockey and figure skates available for rental, but don’t stress yourself about which “type” you should wear. Most beginners start in figure skates (they’re easier to learn with) but you can always change if you start with one type and decide you’d rather have the other kind. (Helmets are also available, and recommended, for children.) You’ll want to check the “Public Skating” schedule at the Town of Breckenridgewebsite: (Public Skating is ice time that’s available for all level skaters.) The cost is $8/adults, $6/children (3 and under are free), plus $4 for skate rental. Private coaching and group lessons are an additional cost, but you can always call the rink to get cost information at 970-547-9974. And let’s not forget about the outdoor rink — one of the coolest things about the Stephen C. West Ice Arena! The ice surface is maintained by a Zamboni, so the surface is smooth (as compared to pond surfaces) and the sides and top are somewhat protected from the elements. So, if you find yourself craving that “Ice Castles” experience, put on some warmer clothes and skate outside! It’s an experience beyond description, and definitely something to talk about for years to come. Skating outdoors in the mountains … does it get any better? I promise the kids will forget all about the bedroom trampoline circus…