Yesterday I hopped a flight up to Prince George as a guest of Northern BC Tourism to check out the Olympic Torch Relay as it passes through along with some of the seasonal activities the region has to offer.
One of our first stops was over at the Outdoor Ice Oval. A crisp, slick rink located in a bowl next to the exhibition grounds.
This community rink is open to the public 7 days a week for families, skaters, kids and clubs. I’m not sure where the hot chocolate came from but it was a very nice touch.
We showed up as the local speedskating club is practicing, and lucky for us, members of the Prince George Blizzards were willing to give us a skating tip or two.
I learned the difference between short and long track skates, the proper positioning, and also that Kris Krug is probably the only person I know who could pull off the ‘leather chaps with speedskates’ look.
Facilities like this rely on community support (and that honour system) and they have recently invested quite a bit into keeping the Oval up and running. This includes getting better mechanisms in place to get the ice frozen and now there’s even have a Zamboni to surface the ice.
All of this care and dedication has certainly paid off. For a community rink it’s not only huge but it has also built its own community around it. You can stop by for a skate, take the stroller with you, practice your skills, or sit on the sidelines with a cup of hot chocolate.
Parents, children, and recreational users converge in this chilly oasis as giggles, mix with the sound of blade metal slicing the ice, quick and clean. The Oval seems like a fantastic place to get exercise, spend time with family, or hone your skating skills.
Update: Kris has his photos up on Flickr – they’re pretty amazing except I don’t think I have the correct speedskating posture quite right…