On one hand, ice skating is a simple pleasure. All that’s needed is a pair of skates and a frozen body of water. But on the other hand, and those who have tried it can attest to this, ice skating isn’t exactly simple. At its most basic, it is a tricky exercise in balance. At its most complicated, it’s art in motion. Figure skating fans, as well as hockey enthusiasts, understand the art aspects.
In the Flathead there are ample opportunities for skaters of all talent levels to enjoy a winter day on the ice. We needn’t be artists out there. In Whitefish, the Stumptown Ice Den provides indoor skating, while in Kalispell and Columbia Falls people can skate outside under the open skies.
The Stumptown Ice Den is the premier skating and hockey facility in the area. The indoor arena provides skating all winter, no matter what the weather outside is like. The rink maintains a busy event schedule, to go along with its open public skating. Public skating costs $4.75 per person. The fee includes a stick and a puck, while skate rentals cost $2.50. The rink will offer extended holiday hours around Christmas and New Year’s. Call the Ice Den at 863-2477 for exact hours.
The rink offers an array of classes throughout the week and on Saturday mornings. Classes are diverse, teaching everything from basic skating skills to advanced techniques for figure skaters and hockey players. They require no equipment. Contact the Whitefish Parks and Recreation Department at 863-2470 for more details and fee information. Also, ask about the introductory youth hockey programs offered for kids of all ages.
Stumptown offers hockey opportunities for men, women and children. Call the rink for hockey tournament dates if you would like to see local talent battle for league bragging rights. There is also an international tournament on Feb. 6-8. Aside from the regularly scheduled league play, Stumptown has open hockey on Sundays, meaning people can show up with their gear or rent gear from the rink, pay a $9 entry fee and suit up for a pick-up game. The games are no contact. Call the rink for more information.
The Whitefish Figure Skating Club meets at Stumptown. It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to amateur figure skating. People interested in joining should call Jennifer Boye at 862-6524. Also, call to find out dates for figure skating performances, which often feature renowned skaters from around the nation.
Skating outside in the Flathead Valley, whether under blue skies or star-filled nights, is a privileged experience. At both the Woodland Park Ice Rink and the nearby Woodland Park pond in Kalispell, people get a chance to do either. Call 758-7813 for open skating times. The rink and pond are regularly maintained by city staff and are open so long as it’s cold enough to keep the ice.
Woodland Park offers skating lessons. Call 758-7717 for information on fees and times. Like Stumptown, Woodland Park also offers open drop-in hockey for adults. The drop-in hockey is open to anybody and people are encouraged to bring along friends. Call 758-7813 for more information on fees and times. Punch cards are available.
For kids, the Flathead Valley Flames Hockey Association is an opportunity for kids to learn about the basics of hockey while getting a chance to play competitively. Visit www.usahockey.com/flatheadvalley for more information or contact the association at 755-4233.
The Columbia Falls ice rink is located in Horine Park at 2301 Talbot Rd. City officials only recently installed the portable rink and haven’t mapped out any organized events aside from free skating open to the public. Public Works Director Lorin Lowry said hockey and other features may eventually be added, but for now he said people are invited to come skate during the day and at night. The rink is lit in the evening. Call the public works department at 892-4391 for more information.
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