Hayden ice rink opens

Students taking advantage, practicing hockey skills

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— Hayden residents can now lace up their skates and hit the ice without driving to Steamboat Springs or Craig.

The town held the grand opening of its portable ice rink Saturday at Hayden Town Park.

The weekend community party allowed skaters to try out the ice from 1 to 4 p.m.

The town purchased the outdoor rink for $3,000 in 1999, but warm temperatures that winter prevented the ice from hardening enough for decent skating.

Recent freezing temperatures, however, ensured the Jan. 6 opening.

About 35 people showed up Saturday, Hayden Recreation Director Lindsay Heer said.

"It was such a warm and pretty day," Heer said. "It was just excellent."

The American Legion served hot dogs and hot chocolate and music was provided.

The rink, which runs 55-by-105 feet, has no entrance or exit. Skaters can just step from the snow to the ice.

This means beginning skaters looking for a wall or rail to hold on to will find nothing but empty air, Heer said.

But skaters can find a soft landing in the snow, she added.

Those who wish to be spectators rather than skaters can watch from benches placed by the edge of the rink.

People who want to skate should plan on bringing their own skates. The town charges no fee for use of the rink and offers no skate rental.

Those looking for ice skates should be able to find a few pair in several sizes at Hayden Consignments.

Heer said she has a few pair that can be purchased or loaned.

The rink provides Hayden youngsters with an alternative to staying inside when the temperature drops.

Kyle Monger, a senior at Hayden High School, uses the ice to practice his hockey skills.

Although he competes on a hockey team in Steamboat Springs, he said he enjoys playing with friends on a rink that is closer to home.

He and his friends should be getting a donation of some used hockey nets, he said.

Because the rink has no covering, snow must be shoveled from the ice.

But the ice, he added, has improved since last winter.

Ryan Bell, a sophomore at Hayden High School, began playing hockey this year with Monger.

Bell agreed the ice rink gave children and teen-agers a fun option during the winter.

Despite the rink's smaller size, he said, skaters never crowd the ice.

"Every now and then people come," he said. "But it never gets busy."

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