Reporting Reg Chapman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Several cities across the state are playing it safe this unusually warm winter and keeping people off the ice.
Warm temperatures are making outdoor ice rinks unsafe and expensive to keep up. They’ve even forced the City of Minneapolis to temporarily close all of its ice rinks.
Lauren Dunn, an ice skater who thought Saturday’s weather was perfect for the sport, was let down when she found a padlock on the warming house at Lake of the Isles.
“I was really disappointed, ’cause it was the first time that we were going to go skating this year,” she said. “And I was really excited.”
The warmer winter melted away the city’s plans to keep rinks open through the season. At the moment, all 47 of Minneapolis’ outdoor rinks are closed.
Why, exactly, are the rinks closed? They just aren’t safe, according to Dawn Summers, of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Department.
“We have grass on our land rink. We have open water on our lake rinks,” Summers said. “And no one is more disappointed than we are.”
No ice rinks means no outdoor ice skating, broom ball or ice hockey in Minneapolis.
All adult hockey leagues have been postponed, but youth hockey programs have found saving grace indoors.
“We’ve moved our youth league to our two indoor rinks that we have within the system,” Summers said.
Will Ice Rinks Open Later If Conditions Improve?
While no one is allowed on the ice in Minneapolis now, there is still hope in what is left of the skating season.
“We have not called it quits, not quite yet,” Summers said. “It’s not looking good – I have to be honest.”
Other cities, such as Coon Rapids and Elk River, have also closed their outdoor rinks for the season.
For up-to-date information on ice rink conditions in Minneapolis, check out the city’s Ice Rink Status.