Skating Fridays

Private Ice and a Star Encounter

I was traveling for work last week and didn’t want to lose any skating practice time. I did some research on the area’s rinks and found out that there were 6 (!) rinks near my hotel. Holy cow! It took about a nanosecond to decide to bring my skates with me so I could practice.

I found out that one of the rinks was only 5 minutes from my hotel so I looked up their freestyle session times. Luckily for me, they had a 6:00am practice session. I would be able to skate for an hour, return to my hotel to shower, and then attend my day full of meetings. It sounded perfect.

Once I arrived at the venue, I got horribly lost. Sounds silly, right? I saw some hockey guys heading into the arena and wondered if the online schedule was wrong. They all walked into a small area with a “Practice Rink” sign so I thought there might be another sheet of ice somewhere. I asked one of the hockey guys if there was another rink in the building, so he told me to go upstairs to the other rink.

I ended up on the concourse of this huge arena and had no idea how to get down to the ice level. A maintenance guy was working so I yelled over to him. He told to go back to the first level and go through some double doors to the entrance. I followed his directions, put on my skates and was still dumbfounded. I was the only one there.

This rink was astounding. I mean, look at the photo below. It was clean, well-maintained, and EMPTY! I had the ice all to myself for a good 40 minutes before a little girl and her mom showed up. I skated an additional 20 minutes with the girl and then went back to my hotel.

Only one on the ice at this beautiful rink!

This particular rink did not offer freestyle sessions the next day, so I had to find another rink. Never fear – I had 5 more to choose from! I found another rink about 15 minutes away so I drove to that one for another 6:00am practice. This arena ALSO had 2 sheets of ice. I was in heaven!

I saw several girls in the lobby area and went to pay for my freestyle ice. The guy behind the counter asked me if I was a low or high level freestyle skater. I hesitated and said I might be high, so he pointed me to the rink on the right. The girls I saw earlier were low level freestyle skaters. So that meant that I had private ice for another 40 minutes before additional skaters showed up. I couldn’t believe my luck. Two straight days of private ice!

Ice rink on Day 2 – private ice!

I was tired by the end of the week but was ecstatic that I got to skate at two different rinks during my trip. I flew home, and then had to fly out of town for a wedding two days later. As luck would have it, my friend also happens to be good friends with a senior men’s skater – Tim Dolensky! If you don’t know Tim, he placed 7th at the U.S. Championships last month and is the 3rd alternate to Worlds. He was gracious enough to chat with me for a little bit and pose for a photo. Tim is definitely one to watch on the men’s circuit – Addie and I cheered for him at Nationals, and she was super excited to meet someone that she saw on TV.

I met Tim Dolensky!

All in all, I had a great week in the skating department. Although my elements seem to have gone missing, I was able to experience two new arenas and meet a skating superstar. What a fantastic way to start off 2016!


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