Blades of (mediocre) Glory

Ah, ice skating — the epitome of grace, poise and athleticism. Unless, of course, you’re an average person with no hockey or figure skating experience. But, it is still a lot of fun. Whether your talent level nears the Olympic or teeters closer to a helmeted three-year-old, ice skating is an awesome change of pace from sitting at home on powderless days.

Bozeman boasts three ice rinks — Beall, Bogert and South Side. All of them are open from noon to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends. There are also three places to rent skates: Chalet Sports, Panda Rental and ASMSU Outdoor Recreation Center. The Rec Center is the cheapest of the three, at $2 for a half-day rental and $4 for a full day, but an MSU ID is required to rent there. They also do not take debit or credit, so come prepared with cash or a check. Renting from Chalet Sports costs $5 for a half day and $8 for a full day. Panda Rental only offers full-day rentals priced at a reasonable $6. None of these options break the bank, and are easily cheaper than going to the movie theatre.

We visited the South Side rink — the one closest to campus — to test out the outdoor activity. After lacing on our brown rental skates, we hit the ice — sometimes quite literally. Without walls on the edge of the rink, or handy dandy upside-down trash bins, starting off can be a little bumpy at first.

The slicing sound the skates make as you slide across is equally exhilarating and terrifying. Do not forget that you have, in effect, two giant razor-blades strapped to your feet that would have almost no problem cutting through any body part that comes near them. Care should always be taken while skating, but don’t let it ruin the fun!

Though ice skating as a date might seem like a good idea, be wary of it if you and your honey’s skills are subpar. A romantic evening can turn bad quickly if the only thing it entails is you falling over each other and injury.

If you are planning to go with children, also keep in mind that they will enjoy it for a while — until they fall down or get cold. Preparing with some Band-Aids and hot cocoa can help. The South Side rink offers a jungle gym and a warming room (a room solely for getting toasty post-skating) that can help mitigate playtime disasters. College students enjoy all of these things as well, of course.

Whatever your skill and athleticism, ice skating can serve as a great way to have fun and work off some extra winter calories. After a few minutes on the ice, your ankles will be screaming in pain, but you will be yelling with joy.