Tag Archives: ice skating

Skating in New York State Parks: Ice Ice Baby!

As the 2018 Winter Olympics kick off in PyeongChang, South Korea, figure skating, speed skating and hockey will be among the marquee events. Generations of young skaters will be inspired by the aerial feats, athletic prowess and teamwork showcased on the ice, while dreaming of standing on the medal podium proudly representing their country.

For amateur and recreational skaters who want to enjoy some quality ice time with family and friends a little closer to home, select New York State Parks offer a variety of locations and experiences throughout the winter months, including rinks and many frozen ponds. From Riverbank’s roof-top skyline in Manhattan to the oval at historic Bear Mountain to the quiet beauty among the pines in Saratoga, these scenic settings are the perfect backdrop to embrace the weather in the northeast and stay active in the outdoors.

Whether your specialty is a triple lutz, or you skew closer to a full-time klutz (or somewhere in between), ice skating is a fun way to exercise for people of all ages. The New England Baptist Hospital and M. Kathryn Steiner, M.D., the physician for the Skating Academy of Boston, recently noted the many fitness benefits of skating including strength, flexibility and balance.

For ice enthusiasts who prefer a net and some action, pond hockey is more popular than ever before.  Both Chenango Valley and Saratoga Spa State Parks host annual multi-day tournaments that draw visitors from across the U.S.  These, together with parks such as Schodack Island, Grafton Lake, and Glimmerglass, hold winter festivals and regular programs throughout January and February with some offering instruction to help grow new legions of skaters.

Along with inspiration for general winter recreation, the State Parks’ website (parks.ny.gov) offers a full list of State Parks with ice skating.  Many sites offer skate rentals, lessons, special events, warming huts and refreshments.  Call ahead for conditions and hours, and be sure to carve out some ice time for yourself this season!

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Making the Most of the Shortest Days of the Year

Ah, the winter solstice is here, that longest night and shortest day.  The solstice (sols=sun; tice=stand still) occurred at 11:48 EST on Monday, December 21, 2015.  This was the moment when the sun was directly over the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere (see Figure 1).  Once it reached this point, the earth started to slowly tilt northward and the days began to get longer. Because the tilting of the earth’s axis is so slow, the day length is the same (stands still) for a day or two after the winter solstice.

Earth-lighting-winter-solstice_EN
Figure 1. Earth Lighting During The Winter Solstice https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Earth-lighting-winter-solstice_EN.png.

Then we slowly gain a minute or two of daylight each day until summer solstice (longest day) in June (Figure 2).

Earth-lighting-summer-solstice_EN
Figure 2. Earth Lighting During The Summer Solstice https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c8/Earth-lighting-summer-solstice_EN.png.

Winter is a great time to explore New York’s State Parks and Historic Sites.  Some Parks offer opportunities to try snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and, ice fishing.  Bring your own skis, ice fishing gear, snowshoes, snowmobiles, or skates to create your own winter fun in a Park or Historic Site.  Or take a hike go wildlife watching or attend a program.  Just remember to dress for the weather and you’ll have a grand time!

Post by Susan Carver, OPRHP.