Howelsen Ice Rink busy despite extended public skate hours
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — With the Western States Hockey League’s Steamboat Wranglers defunct and no longer utilizing time at the Howelsen Ice Arena, public “Bump and Skate” hours were extended from two hours to four with sessions available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on most days.
That doesn’t mean there’s more availability to go around, though, according to Dmitry Chase, ice rink supervisor. He said the rink has been experiencing “really high volume,” and many days are booked solid.
Chase said the busy season runs all the way through March, so making a reservation is the key to enjoying time at the rink.
“Unfortunately, we’re pretty archaic still, so we don’t have online booking,” Chase said. “You do have to call in advance and make reservations via phone.”
The Howelsen Ice Arena is presumably the only place in Colorado where you can ride bumper cars on ice. The brightly colored, inner tube-like cars take up a third of the Olympic-size ice rink. Sessions start every 20 minutes throughout the public skate session, which can be found on the ice rink website. Reservations can be made by calling 970-871-7033.
As of the afternoon of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day was nearly fully booked, but the rest of the week has some openings.
“We’re getting constant calls right now,” Chase said.
Public skate doesn’t require a reservation, but keep in mind, you more than likely won’t have the ice to yourself. The rink provides hockey and figure skates for people of all sizes and all ages, as well as helmets. While helmets are limited, Howelsen hardly runs out of skates.
“Very seldom,” Chase said. “It’s usually during an event where we have a couple hundred people here. We do have a secondary fleet we can tap into if we have to.”
For those who aren’t as skilled on skates, the rink also provides sleds and a few balancing aids.
On Saturday, Dec. 28, the Steamboat Skating Club is hosting a Skate with the Grinch event. From 5 to 7 p.m., families can enjoy a holiday-themed public skate complete with cookies and cocoa. There will also be concessions and a bake sale, with proceeds benefiting the skating club.
What: Skate with the Grinch
Where: Howelsen Ice Arena, 245 Howelsen Parkway
When: 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 28
Cost: $10 individual, $30 family of four
Additionally, “Stick and Puck” is a designed time for the casual hockey player who wants to get some ice time away from an organized league or for those who aren’t part of one. The rink puts nets on the ice and provides pucks and some sticks, but people are encouraged to bring their own.
Participants 18 and younger are required to wear full gear, with those older than 18 needing just helmet, gloves and skates.
Stick and Puck is scheduled almost every day between now and the end of the year, but in January, it’s only offered a couple of hours each Friday.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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