This past Friday, all remaining outdoor rinks in the City of Red Deer closed for the season. Natural ice surfaces at Bower Ponds, Anders and Westlake remain open until this Friday. (Advocate file photo)

This past Friday, all remaining outdoor rinks in the City of Red Deer closed for the season. Natural ice surfaces at Bower Ponds, Anders and Westlake remain open until this Friday. (Advocate file photo)

Red Deer’s outdoor skating season wrapping up

Some stretches of warm winter weather made this year’s outdoor ice rink season a little inconsistent.

This past Friday, all remaining outdoor rinks in the City of Red Deer closed for the season. Natural ice surfaces at Bower Ponds, Anders and Westlake are thick enough to remain open until this upcoming Friday.

“It was a kind of (up and down) year. The weather was weird,” said Paul Belliveau, Waskasoo Park and Infrastructure supervisor.

“When we opened up around Christmas there was a real cold spell. That lightened up the usage. Then it was pretty nice for a while.”

Warm weather in February caused some “havoc” to some ice surfaces in the city, Belliveau said, adding it can be difficult to maintain the ice when the temperature rises.

“Especially with the asphalt rinks, once a black spot has shown it just absorbs the heat. That degrades the ice and in February that happened to a few of the rinks. It’s really hard to bounce them back from that,” he said.

The removal of the boards is typically done by mid-April.

“Right now there will be some ice that stays along the edge and because of the snow that gets shovelled over the boards by the users, there will be a mass of snow,” Belliveau explained.

“Once that melts and the boards and brackets are able to be freed up, we’ll remove the boards. … It takes a couple of weeks or so. Then we prepare the multi-courts for tennis and basketball after that.”

Even though the weather did impact this year’s outdoor rink season, it’s still close to following the city’s typical timeline of opening in early-December wrapping up in late February.

“We were pleased with that.”

The City of Red Deer is reminding residents to be cautious on natural ice surfaces, as warmer temperatures can weaken the ice surface.

Additionally, the ice oval at Setters Place in Great Chief Park will remain open for public skating until next Monday, weather permitting. For up-to-date information on the ice oval, visit www.reddeer.ca/settersplace.



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

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