Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cold weather is creating frozen ponds, look around for solid ice for ice skating, broomball

A portion of the pond at Eagle Island State Park has been shoveled.
My son Quinn normally is skating indoors on ice that costs $165/hour.  
Thanks to whoever shoveled the rink! 
First time I've been on skates this year 
Hi all,

I'm a Minnesota kid, so when it gets cold, I always wonder when the ponds in Boise are going to freeze. From the age of 4, I used to ice skate and play hockey all winter in Minnetonka, Minn. I had a small pond, and three outdoor hockey rinks located 5 minutes from my house. It gets in your blood.

In Boise, we've had several weeks of cold weather now, with single digits at night, so I figured that surely, there must be a few ponds in Boise that are ready for ice skating, broomball or whatever.

I put out a Facebook inquiry on the topic earlier this week, got some additional ideas, and went exploring for a pond with solid ice. In years past, during cold snaps, I've skated on Veterans Park Pond, Ann Morrison duck ponds and the Quarry pond in ParkCenter. Right now, Veterans pond appears to be ready for skating, broomball or whatever in the shallow end (northwest corner of the pond). We walked around on it close to shore today, and it seemed solid. The ice must be about 5-6 inches thick. But no one has shoveled off an area for ice play ... maybe I'll work on that.
I agree with this sign by the Ann Morrison duck ponds ... there's open water in places. Looks sketchy. 
(Full disclosure: Boise Parks & Recreation is not encouraging people to play on the ice at any of their park properties, according to parks officials. Some dogs have fallen through the ice at Redwood Park in West Boise, so please steer clear of that one.)

I heard that people were skating on the pond at Eagle Island State Park, so my son, Quinn, and I went out there yesterday afternoon, found a shoveled rink cleared of snow, skated around a bit and shot the puck back and forth. This is the best piece of pond ice that I've found so far. But the ice surface, unfortunately, was quite rough ... too rough for a real game of hockey with several other guys. It'd be fine for broomball, though. Wonder if the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation could flood it for us?
Veterans Park pond ... I walked across this area in the shallow end and it seemed solid.
We noticed plenty of other skate-blade marks on the ice, so obviously some other folks have been enjoying that piece of ice.

Please comment below if you know of some other ponds in the Boise area or Treasure Valley that are solid enough for skating.

I cruised by the Quarry pond in ParkCenter, and that one is not fully frozen on one side. ParkCenter pond has open water and current underneath it. So no go. Ditto with Julia Davis pond. The Ann Morrison Ponds were snowy, with open water and very rough -- didn't look suitable for skating. So I don't know what else to recommend at this point. Let me know if you've found some good ice.

It's only supposed to stay this cold for a few more days until next week, so seize the moment if you like to skate or play on ice.

If you'd like to go ice skating in an indoor environment, Idaho Ice World has public skating sessions 7 days a week at various times. Rental skates are available.


Outdoor writer Roger Phillips of the Idaho Statesman did a nice write up in today's paper on tubing and sleigh rides in Garden Valley. Here's the link to that story ... Garden Valley needs a little love from the Treasure Valley to stay in business. Try it sometime.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival is coming up Feb. 4-6 at the Egyptian Theater. Tickets are $17 for adults, $13 for seniors and $45 for a three-day pass. Day-of-event tickets are $20.

Have fun!