The ice rink opens for a one-month season
PORT ANGELES – Call it an ice vacation without the real vacation.
A spring version of the Port Angeles Winter Ice Village opens today for a month of skating on a temporary ice rink set up in a public parking lot in the 100 block of West Front Street.
The ice rink is expected to operate daily until April 18.
Unlike two previous editions of skating that took place during the holiday season from Thanksgiving to Christmas, this skating season has been delayed until early spring due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19.
Marc Abshire, executive director of the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the event, said his group wanted to make up for the cancellation of the vacation skating.
“It’s to make up for the loss of this last season,” he said.
The ice rink, tent lining and snack hut will still be there, but this year’s village will forgo holiday lighting and Christmas themes, Abshire said.
The only nod to the holidays will be the peanut butter and chocolate eggs at the concession stand in honor of Easter on April 4.
Department of Health guidelines limit skaters to 75 at a time on the ice. That number could increase, but Abshire said that was not guaranteed.
During the 2019-2020 skating season, at times as many as 125 skaters were on the ice, with a potential of up to 150.
“I think everything will be fine when it comes to the limits,” Abshire said. “I think there will always be good skating.
In order to discourage large crowds during peak hours, discounts will be given for morning sessions, Abshire said.
The fee will be $ 5 for morning skating from 9 a.m. to noon. Afternoons between 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. will be $ 10.
Evening sessions are scheduled from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. and from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and will cost $ 10 per person Monday through Thursday and $ 15 per person Friday through Sunday. These sessions will be $ 15 during spring break, April 5 to 9.
Young people and adults will pay the same price, with a minimum age of 3 years.
“This is a new pricing structure that we had to do because of COVID,” Abshire said. “It’s to try to get fewer people in popular times and more people in less popular times.”
Reservations are available, but not required, although free space may be limited.
Ice time can be booked at https://wintericevillage.org/make-a-reservation.
The 2019-2020 skating season almost came to an abrupt end when up to 2 feet of heavy, wet snow collapsed the tent on January 19, 2020 – the week before the scheduled closing day.
The destroyed tent, which had been on loan from 7 Cedars Casino, was removed and the ice rehabilitated enough to allow the skating season to end outdoors.
For this year, the chamber bought its own tent, Abshire said. The ice rink and support equipment are rented from Ice-America, based in Harbor City, California.
Holiday skating is scheduled to resume for the 2021-22 regular season.
Hopefully the wintry weather won’t disrupt holiday skating like in 2020, Abshire said.
“It was an overnight event, and there was basically no one here to really watch it,” he said. “What we have learned is that it is not enough to listen to the forecast.”
Leslie Robertson, head of events at the Chamber of Commerce, said she was happy to be able to bring the ice back to Port Angeles, especially at a time when the calendar of other events is sparse.
“The season is a lot shorter so it will be different,” she said. “But that’s when the community is in desperate need of something, and I think it comes at a perfect time. I’m so glad we can do it. So happy.”
Photojournalist Keith Thorpe can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 59050, or at [email protected].