The crisp sound of ice skates slicing across fresh ice fills Appleton Family Ice Center, a nonprofit community rink that hosts ice-based sports, skating lessons, and open-skate times. New renovations present visitors with healthier options at the concession stand and a brand-new skating surface as smooth as a silk scarf wrapped around Kenny G. When it’s not hosting birthday parties or serving as the home base for the Fox Cities Ice Dogs or Valley Figure Skating Club, the center also welcomes the public for evening events that include live music, refreshments, and periodic sweeps from a Zamboni decorated like a fire truck.
Whenever the leaves begin to yellow and a chill returns to the air, a young person's fancy turns to thoughts of snowy sports. Don't tell that to the skaters at Blue Line Family Ice Center, though; whether in the depths of winter or the heights of summer, they practice their on-ice craft at the facility's year-round rink. Hockey players and figure skaters alike find a home here, with leagues and lessons awaiting those looking to hone their craft.
One of 12 indoor 400-meter ovals in the world and the only sea-level oval in the United States accessible to athletes, the nonprofit Pettit National Ice Center has become an essential destination for speed skaters training for the 2014 Olympic Games. Practicing skaters join the ranks of Apolo Anton Ohno, Chad Hedrick, and Shani Davis, all of whom have competed or trained at Pettit, participated in the last five Winter Olympics, and beaten an avalanche into submission. With its 155,000-square-foot arena and 97,000 square feet of ice, the Olympic training site has hosted the 2005 U.S. National Short Track Championship and eight international speed-skating competitions.
In addition to Olympic-caliber sportspersons, Pettit accommodates nearly 400,000 annual visitors for public-skating sessions and lessons in skating, figure skating, and speed skating. Skating clubs, hockey leagues, curling, and wheelchair- and special-needs-skating classes commence on two 100'x200' rinks. Meanwhile, spectators and Olympic torches on their day off can sidestep the ice by contemplating infinity while resting in a lounge overlooking the arena, or jogging around the 443-meter track circling the ice oval.
Aside from hosting the Oregon youth hockey program, the nonprofit Oregon Community Sports Arena welcomes ice dancers to its multifunctional indoor rink for open skate, family skate, open hockey, and speed skating. Hockey and broomball teams occupy the icy terrain throughout the week, and expert instructors oversee regular skating schools and athletic camps on the frosty floors. An onsite shop supplies skaters with apparel and used sporting goods, and a large community room hosts regular open martial-arts classes and can accommodate birthday parties of up to 150 guests or 500 Lilliputians.
The word TraXside artfully sprayed on one wall of the rink is the first clue that this is not a retro-style skate rink. At TraXside Skating, a family-oriented business, the colored lights reflect on the slick skating surface as skaters glide on bright-colored wheels around the rink. The ceiling arches overhead. Between laps around the rink, skaters refuel at the onsite snack shop or peruse the racks at the pro shop.
Skatetown proves a smooth floor and a pair of skates are the only things necessary for fun. The skate center hosts roller-skating sessions and games, such as Red Light, Green Light and Limbo. Sessions are limited to kids aged 2?12 so that parents don?t need to worry about older kids going too fast, and special training tools help young children learn to skate.