It’s January. The weather: Wind, rain and darkness. Need we say more?
So the question is what to do with the kids in what for many is the second week of winter break and the start of school is still five days away.
Some families are heading out to area ice rinks in Everett and Lynnwood for their public skates. For those wanting to develop their skills, there are learn-to-skate classes for kids and adults.
The Christmas and New Year’s weeks traditionally are busy times for public ice skating with some 200 people showing up on some days, said Wes Hartze, a shift supervisor at Everett’s Xfinity Community Ice Rink.
Although it drops off somewhat when kids head back to school after New Year’s, the crowds remain pretty steady throughout the winter, he said.
The rink has assistance devices, called walkers, to help newbie kid skaters, and they often sell out pretty fast this time of year. “For some kids, it’s a confidence booster,” Hartze said.
First-time skaters should aim to arrive 20 minutes early to make sure everyone’s ready to skate, he said.
The Lynnwood Ice Center has a holiday schedule with more public skate hours ending on Jan. 4. Families often fill the ice, said Matthew Tolleth, administration manager.
“We have families trying it out for the first time and families who come every weekend,” he said.
Frame walker assistance devices are available for children. Inexperienced adults skaters often just hold on to the edge of the rink.
For those who want to develop their skills, there are learn-to-skate classes for kids and adults.
Dress warmly. “This is essentially a giant ice box,” Tolleth said.
Christy Thwing of Edmonds brought her daughters Lydia, 8, and Amelia, 6. Mom said she had been skating before and her daughter, Amelia, participated in a program to teach kindergartners to ice skate.
It wasn’t a planned outing, just a spontaneous decision to come. “It just worked out,” Christy Thwing said.
Gary and Kay Noble came from Lynnwood to meet up with their grandkids. “It’s a great thing to do,” Kay Noble said.
She said she worked for many years as a teacher in the Edmonds School District. “Kids definitely need things to do during the break,” she said.
Juli Hooper from Seattle brought her kids, ages 4 and 8, who both would be using walkers. Hooper’s father-in-law, Rich Hooper, came too. “We came because of the walkers,” he said.
The day’s outing was an alternative to driving to Snoqualmie Pass, Juli Hooper said.
“Driving was too dastardly,” she said.
Asked if kids who needed activity and the rainy weather may have played a role, too, she responded with a grin. “You nailed it.”
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
What: Xfinity Community Ice Rink
Where: 2000 Hewitt Ave., Everett
When: Generally 8:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon until 2 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. and 6 to 7:15 p.m. Sunday. Check the daily schedule at www.angelofthewindsarena.com/?p=1233
Cost: $6 admission, $4 skate rental, $4.50 children 5 and under and includes skate rental.
More: 425-322-2653 or tinyurl.com/everettrink
What: Lynnwood Ice Center
Where: 19803 68th Ave. W, Lynnwood
When: The public skate schedule is scheduled to change Jan. 5. Check the website for times.
Cost: $7 general admission, $6.50 seniors and those 12 and under; skate rental $4
More: 425-640-9999 or www.lynnwoodicecenter.com/home
Ice skating tips
If you’re concerned about safety, bring along helmets, knee pads and elbow pads.
Wear warm comfortable clothing. Air temperatures are about 40 to 50 degrees and you’re standing on ice.
Those with long hair should tie it back.
No scarves or shorts.
Wear long socks.
Wear mittens or gloves made of cloth. Ski-type gloves are slippery and make it difficult to get up off the ice if you fall.
Source: Lynnwood Ice Center