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.
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.
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.
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.
Skylite Roller Skating Center has been sending families spinning round its 10,000-square-foot rink for 30 years. Skaters can don sturdy four-wheeled foot trolleys to cruise the circumference of Skylite’s sleek surface, which is kept smooth daily by the diligent tongues of 100 neighborhood cats, during any of the rink’s 2.5- to 3-hour public skating sessions (up to a $5 to $8 value/person; times and admission price vary each day), including their annual Halloween and New Year’s Eve parties. Glide in time to current and classic dance and pop tunes in a whirl of neon, black lights, and the sequin-like shimmers of an overhead disco ball. A snack bar serves pizza, french fries, and candy—not included in today’s Groupon—to failing gliders to prevent head-on blood-sugar crashes.
Play time speeds on unabated at Roll On America, a 30,000-square-foot wonderland containing an indoor skating rink, laser-tag arena, and arcade. Skaters trade in street shoes for traditional quad or sleek inline wheels and zoom across the floor, executing figure eights or even more intricate figure 16s. Inside a futuristic laser-tag arena marked by neon alien landscapes, would-be warriors duck and cover their way to victory by blasting indicator vests with high-powered beams. Post-tagging, Roll On America’s onsite eatery serves up snacks, and an arcade area houses more than 25 classic and modern games.