It’s a short walk from the parking lot to the frozen pond, located near the muskeg. And you can already hear the action.
The Kandoll family is carefully skating around the slick flat surface. The family of four rushed to get here after school and before the sun sets.
“The kids have been excited to come up here with this nice cold weather, enjoy the ice,” says Rachel Kandoll. “As you can see they aren’t real good but we’re practicing.”
Angela: “How do you like ice skating?”
Jackson: “Good, awesome.”
Angela: “So you say it’s awesome, what do you like about it?”
Jackson: “Because I always fall down.”
Angela: “You like to fall down?”
The family got ice skates as early Christmas presents this year. Rachel said they didn’t want to miss out on the cold snap.
It’s Rowen Olsen’s first time skating too. The 11-year-old says he’s already gotten the hang of it.
“I’ve gotten really good and I’ve already mastered being able to turn tight corners,” Olsen says. “It’s all a matter of tilting your body enough so you have enough leverage so that you can still turn sharply without falling.”
He says the speed and momentum is the best part of skating.
He says his grandfather brought him up to the skating pond to try ice skating.
Sig Burrell with the Petersburg Hockey Club voluntarily prepped the skating pond this year. Burrell wasn’t available to talk but veteran hockey player, Gregg Kowalski, says Burrell really made some improvements.
“He took his big heavy equipment up there and dug it out and widened it substantially,” Kowalski says, “and put some D-1 gravel around the edges, then he brought up his lights.”
Kowalski says several people have been using the skating pond since the weather’s been cold.
The hockey team plays twice a week year round, usually at the community gym. But when the weather is cold, they try to skate outside on the ice. Kowalski said last year skating on the pond proved challenging.
“It wasn’t very user friendly,” Kowalski says. “There were rocks and reeds coming up, twigs, and logs and everything. That was one of our goals is to make that an area that we can actually do some real skating in and make it more accessible for the community too.”
Back on the pond, Carey Case says she does notice the improvements. She’s skating around with her daughter, Iris, while their dog Rosa keeps up.
Angela: So have you been skating on the pond before this year?”
Carey: “Yes, we have. Not last year though because it wasn’t cold enough. We didn’t get any ice skating in. But yes, since Iris was probably three or four we’ve been working on doing a little skating when we can.”
Angela: “Iris, what do you like about ice skating, how does it make you feel when you’re skating?”
Iris: “It makes me feel…from nothing….Nothing’s around me.”
Carey: “Free as a bird.”
Carey: “And the setting’s so beautiful up here. And it’s fun too up here because it seems like we run into the same kind of folks skating every year that maybe we don’t see all the time. So, it’s kind of fun. It’s like, “Hey, we’ll see you out when we’re out on the pond or out at the slough skating.” So, it’s kind of a way to connect with some different folks that we don’t always meet up with.”
Only time will tell how much opportunity these skaters will have this winter. But if it is cold, they know where they can go.