Ice skaters undaunted by near-summer weather

November 22, 1992|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

It was a day for shirt sleeves and spring jackets, eating ice cream and driving with the car windows down.

But at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis yesterday afternoon, some people refused to believe it. They dressed in parkas and down-lined coats -- some even wore mittens and gloves -- and they went ice skating.

After all, the temperature had dipped all the way to 66 degrees.

Leaves were still falling from trees as 40 skaters sped around the rink, which opened two years ago in December, a month more commonly associated with outdoor ice skating.

"It seemed like a good idea," said Mary Rausch, of Annapolis, who brought her 9-year-old son, Chris, to the rink, which opened for the season Thursday.

"I didn't know it was going to be this warm when we planned it. The ice is a little wet. It's OK as long as you don't fall. The kids are all soaked."

Park officials said that once the ice is made, cooling coils that pump compressed Freon under the $900,000 rink can keep the surface in good skating condition even in hot weather.

"It holds its own real well," said Lisa Shore, a park ranger at Quiet Waters. "We have skated on it until it's 80 degrees outside. No problem.

It gets a little wet on top, but everybody is outside and skating and having fun."

The skating rink, one of two outdoor rinks in the county, measures 180 feet by 90 feet and can accommodate 300 skaters.

Skaters said they didn't mind the warm weather. Many shed their heavy clothes and welcomed the chance to skate outside.

"We don't get a lot of frozen water for skating in the winter," said Chip Murray, of Annapolis, who brought his 9-year-old son, Patrick. "It's great to be outside -- that's the nice part about it."

Of course, skating in warm weather makes people thirsty. Yesterday, skaters picked up sodas and ice cream from the concession stand -- not hot chocolate or soup. The occasional jogger dressed in shorts stopped to watch.

Those who enjoyed seeing spills came to the right place. Plenty of people -- especially children -- clearly had little skating experience.

Joanne Gober-Keller, of Annapolis, brought her reluctant 3-year-old, Joey, to partake in the winter sport.

"It took me a little while to get him on the ice," Joey's mother said. "He wasn't sure about it."

Five-year-old Rekenna Brownused an orange traffic cone to steady herself. "I've been promising I would teach her how to skate since she was 3," said her aunt, Rosalee Anderson, of Annapolis. "So here we are."

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