A nonprofit organization, Little Sun Valley Skating Club promotes ice skating through lessons, competitions, and annual shows. Its members meet at Smead Arena to practice and have some good old-fashioned fun. They also use the sport to cultivate team spirit, teaching skaters the virtues of belonging and working together.
Town of New Hartford Recreation Center sends skaters of all ages gliding across the frosty floors of its indoor arena during two-hour public skate sessions held throughout the week. Customers can rent skates ($4; not covered by the Groupon) upon arrival or whittle their own pair out of a block of cement before hitting the frozen dance floor to salchow beneath its bright lights. An indoor refrigeration system ensures that the rink can remain open until March 31st, giving visitors one last opportunity to show off their skating skills or favorite flannel poncho.
Before IMAX movies and online social networks, roller skating reigned supreme as the favorite pastime of American youth. Ron-A-Roll Indoor Roller Skating Center smacks of this blissful era, with its colorful retro murals, classic beach-wood floors, firm prohibition of halter-tops and baggy pants, and the gratuitous use of the word "hogwash." The beeps and whistles of arcade games jingle across the 14,000-square-foot roller skating rink, faintly audible beneath the boom of current hits. Spotlighted by strings of hanging lights, skaters of all ages soar across the rink during open skate, skate lessons, and fitness-skating classes held throughout the week.
Off the skate floor, a team of technicians staffs a pro shop, peddling inline skates and gear for rental or purchase while extending mechanical expertise toward repair work, wheel rotations, and cleanings. Meanwhile, in the concession stand, servers dole out boxes of popcorn and pitchers of soft drinks to fuel laps around the rink and inspire skaters to experiment with their popcorn-float recipe.
Newington Arena?s Zamboni smoothes the ice for a range of blade-based activities, from lessons and hockey matches to freestyle open-skate sessions. Experienced coaches teach new and experienced skaters alike to glide, spin, and casually levitate during learn-to-skate programs and figure-skating academies, and amateurs can independently master their triple axels during public-skate times. Hockey and speed-skating programs warm up the ice, and each Friday night, Ice Jam?s strobe lights and music flood the arena as students 11?15 years old weave around the frozen floor. Newington Arena also houses a snack bar and hosts birthday parties, allowing kids to brag that their shindig was, literally, the coolest.
Bolton Ice Palace ditches the red carpet in favor of a sprawling, 200’x85’ rink that has sent New England skaters twirling across its surface for the past four decades. Typically open seven days per week for public sessions, the facility luxuriates each visit with modern amenities, including four locker rooms, a full-service vending room, and an onsite pro shop. Youth and men’s hockey leagues consistently rub elbows with the boards, and learn-to-skate programs—designed by U.S. Figure Skating—help pintsize and full-size gliders alike become comfortable atop their blades. Customers can also rent out the Palace, turning it into a private event space to host birthdays, work functions, or to more accurately pinpoint the location of the zamboni operator’s forlorn howls.
Throughout the year, the rink at Danbury Arena stirs with such events as lessons, hockey leagues, and weekly public skating sessions. Instructors also lead lessons starting with children as young as age three, including an adult program that caters to varying skill sets with five different levels of challenges, from two-foot glides and stops to forward crossovers. Every Friday night, the arena transforms into a disco party, complete with live DJ music and special lighting, and an oversized rhinestone jacket for the Zamboni.