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Ice Skating Cold Spots

Photo by Rachel Finley/SENTRY

Photo by Rachel Finley/SENTRY

Joanna Domson, Sentry Staff Reporter

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Ice skating is an activity best enjoyed in the winter and loved by all, or at least those that have the balance to glide around on a frozen sheet of ice.  Several aspects go into picking the best ice skating spot: ambiance, location, crowd density and ice quality.  Some of the top picks in the area are Kettler Capitals Iceplex, National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden and Ice Rink, Washington Harbor Ice Rink on the Georgetown Waterfront, Pentagon Row Ice Skating Rink and the Reston Town Center Ice Rink.

Ambiance is of great importance when picking an ice skating rink.  Twinkle lights and holiday music can really get you in the holiday spirit, but some rinks play radio music with a disco ball if that is more your style.  The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden and Ice Rink combines national monuments, twinkle lights and modern sculpture art to create a fun environment.  Washington Harbor Ice Rink on the Georgetown Waterfront not only has cute penguins to lean on when learning to skate but also noteworthy restaurants surrounding the rink.  Kettler Capitals Iceplex is the only indoor rink featured and comes with the advantage of no wind and warmer temperatures.

“Having the kind of holiday spirit around is really important, and you get that, I find, with outdoor rinks.  Smaller rinks are more intimate, cozier,” said senior Carlyn LeGrant, a figure skater.

Location can be a deal breaker for those who cannot drive themselves.  With the Metro, Kettler Capitals Iceplex is easy to get to and from, especially without a car.  The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden and Ice Rink also has easy access from a Metro, but it requires venturing into the heart of DC.  Reston Town Center Ice Rink is the farthest away, but it offers cute shopping and good food in the surrounding Town Center.

“The experience is kind of ruined if you have to drive two hours to get to a skating rink, so that is why I think, recreationally, Ballston [Kettler Capitals Iceplex] and Pentagon are really good because they are not too far away,” said LeGrant.

Crowd density is an important criteria to keep in mind.  A crowded ice rink is not fun whether or not you are a master skater.  Ice gets choppy quickly, and dodging fallen children is a difficult and tiring feat.  However, small rinks can give a cozy feel that large rinks cannot.

Ice quality may not matter to many who are not experienced skaters, but to those who care, high ice quality means the world.  Zambonis are key to high ice quality. Manual sweeping of the ice creates bumps that can be hard to skate on.  A Zamboni, however,  leaves the surface smooth.

Overall, Yelp rates the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden and Ice Rink as the highest of the five, but with increased popularity comes increased density.

“For fun, the best [rink] would be Pentagon Ice Skating Rink.  It is a bit smaller, but it is outdoors, it is cute, it is fun, it is great for the holidays,” said LeGrant.

Ice skating is whatever you make it to be.  Remember to come prepared with gloves and warm clothes, especially when visiting an outdoor rink.  But most of all, remember to have fun, laugh and get in the holiday spirit.

 

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Ice Skating Cold Spots