Youth of Minot, prepare to lace up your skates.
With the winter weather comes the skating season, and it will soon be here.
The outdoor skating rinks are typically open starting Dec. 15, said Ron Merritt, director of the Minot Park District.
James C. Falcon/MDN
Jerry Hager, a member of the parks maintenance department, lays down a layer of water on the pleasure rink at Longfellow Elementary. The water will eventually freeze, making it suitable for skating. The outdoor skating season usually begins in Minot on Dec. 15.
There will be three hockey rinks and four pleasure skating rinks available.
"At Polaris Park, we have a hockey and pleasure skating rink. At Longfellow, it's the same. Roosevelt, same thing. We have (hockey) boards and the pleasure rink," Merritt said. "Over at Corbett Field, there's a pleasure rink on the outside of (the field). We used to have hockey boards, but we took the boards down and we just have (skating)."
At three of the locations, there are warming houses, "a nice area to get warmed up," Merritt said. Skaters can also change into their skates there and there are also restroom facilities. Corbett Field does not have a warming house.
"People can skate whenever they want to, of course, until late evening when the lights are turned off," Merritt said.
According to Ann Nesheim, recreation coordinator for the city of Minot, the warming houses are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 4 to 9:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 9:30 p.m.
"We always have a special Christmas schedule over the break," Nesheim said, adding that schedule is going to be decided on today and will be available on (www.minotnd.org).
On Monday afternoon, maintenance workers Jerry Hager, Kevin Rubbelke and Allan Berdahl sprayed a layer of water on the existing pleasure rink at Longfellow Elementary. They started working on the rinks just after Thanksgiving.
As Rubbelke turned the water on, Hager held the end of the hose while Berdahl assisted there is plenty of pressure when the hose first turns on it's almost like turning on a fire hydrant, Rubbelke noted.
The thickness of the ice is dependent on the weather. It's normally 4 to 6 inches of ice but by the end of the season, it's about 8 inches, Hager said.
Despite the unofficial Dec. 15 starting date, some local youth have taken it upon themselves to ring in the season early.
"They've been skating on this already. They're in a big hurry," Hager said about the Longfellow rink.
Rubbelke said some schoolchildren bring their skates with them to school. Once school lets out, they go right to the rink.
"I'd be excited too," Hager added.
However, hockey enthusiasts at Longfellow will need to wait a little longer. The hockey rink, located just a few feet from the pleasure rink, still has a ways to go before it will be ready. Patches of green grass stick out. Water won't freeze there just yet.
"It's gotta get so cold or the water just soaks away," Berdahl said.
Earlier that day, the team prepared the rinks at Roosevelt Elementary and Polaris Park. Each time, it took about two hours to clean snow off the rinks, Rubbelke said.