Niles’ outdoor skaters cherish deep freeze
During an outdoor public skating session at Iceland in Niles, local resident Peter Petrov photographs his daughter's first time skating Saturday evening. | Kevin Tanaka for~Sun-Times Media.
Updated: March 11, 2013 2:20AM
NILES — While many people hope for warmer weather, those who enjoy outdoor ice skating were glad to experience the recent chill.
Last year, the outdoor rink at Niles’ Iceland Skate Complex was delayed by an unseasonable winter and because the sun was too warm during the daytime, rink manager Marty Stankowicz said.
“The weather didn’t cooperate last season,” said Stankowicz, a former Niles police officer. “It’s better this year.”
Slawek Bigos of Park Ridge has taken advantage of that. On Friday, Bigos was skating with his four-year-old daughter and older son and daughter at Iceland.
“It’s really bonding time,” said Bigos, who has been enjoying ice skating with his kids during their winter vacation.
Bigos said he recently joined an adult hockey league at Iceland. He added that he enjoys skating outside as opposed to indoors.
“I like the sun and breathing the fresh air,” said Bigos.
Bigos’ son, Kamil, said he, too, was having a fun time on the ice, praising its smoothness.
“I think they did a good job this year with the ice surface,” added Nolan Manicki, of Niles, who skates outdoors at Iceland about four to five times during his winter break.
Manicki is a hockey player at Iceland and he said he enjoys ice skating outside, because he feels it provides a more authentic hockey experience.
Stankowicz said Iceland resurfaces the ice after events and following a snowfall.
During the month of January, people can skate outdoors Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. On Saturday, public open skate will be from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sunday it will take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
“Every day we have different specials going on,” Stankowicz said.
He acknowledged that this year a good amount of people have come to skate at the outdoor rink, and he hopes even more people try out the rink next year. The ice skating season will probably last until the end of February or beginning of March, he said.
On Mondays, Iceland offers public skating for $1 if skaters wear college or pro team jerseys. On Tuesdays, skating is $2, on Wednesday skaters can pick a card from a jar and it will cost between $1 and $5. Skating is $3 on Thursdays, and on Fridays families of three or more get half off the admission cost.
The 42nd annual ice skating show will take place at Iceland on May 3, 4 and 5. Several hundred people attend each show, explained Amy Forbes, the ice skating director at Iceland, who is also a former ice skating student at Iceland.
Performers range in age from three to adult. All are enrolled in skating classes at Iceland.
Forbes said registration for the show is currently going on. Generally about 60 to 100 skaters are featured in each year’s show, she added.
This year’s show title is “Fantastic Creatures, Critters and Fairies.”