Mohonk Mountain House’s
award-winning pavilion ice rink features open sides, wooden roof beams, stone
columns, and a 39-foot-tall stone fireplace made from stone from the Shawangunk
Ridge. (Jim Smith Photography)
Even if you’ll never be able to master the triple Salchow or a graceful Lutz,
you can still relish the rush that comes from gliding across a slick ice rink on
a pair of sharp blades. For some Hudson Valley parents, ice skating with their
children is a ritual of winter family fun, eagerly anticipated as the cold
weather sets in.
something about getting all bundled up in warm and cozy layers with the cold brisk
air outside that makes us breathe a little deeper, smile a little wider, and
enjoy being in the present moment,” says Diane Hoch, a Bardonia mother of three
teenage girls. “I love taking my girls — and as many friends as they can fit in
the car — to the outdoor rink in the mountains. What a magical place with the
lights both on the ice rink and in the twinkling night sky.”
Hoch’s favorite place to slip and slide is the Bear Mountain Ice Rink,
which she says holds many memories for her family.
“We have gone there to celebrate birthday parties, Friday nights,
Sunday afternoons, and even ushered in the New Year with friends one New Years
For other parents embarking on the teenage years with their children, a
little togetherness at the rink goes a long way.
“We can both skate, but it’s not going to be together, as that would not
be cool,” Jean Ralston of Lagrangeville says of her 13-year-old daughter, Kate (pictured at left).
“Ice skating is the perfect December birthday activity,” says Kate.
“It’s fun and easy in the cold days of December.”
For some, ice skating with their children is as much about finding
them new outlets for their athleticism and building blocks for their confidence
as it is about family fun. And the affordable figure skating and hockey lessons
available at local rinks are a real plus for parents.
Kathleen Willcox is a freelance writer who lives in Carmel with her husband and twins.
Mohonk Mountain House Pavilion Ice Rink
1000 Mountain Rest Rd., New Paltz, NY 12561
Ensconced in the historic winter resort, the award-winning ice rink is open from Thanksgiving to late March.Enjoy recreational skating or exciting games such as broom ball on the 9,375 square foot refrigerated rink. The rink also has a party room that can accommodate small or large ice skating parties. Fee (includes rentals): $17 per person midweek, $27 per person on weekends and holidays. Session times vary. Frequent skater card available for $150 for 10 sessions.
85 Sheafe Rd., Poughkeepsie
The recent addition of a portable skating rink provides endless hours of winter fun. Skaters must bring their own skates and the rink is open during all park hours, daily 9am-5pm weather permitting.
Bear Mountain Ice Rink
55 Hessian Dr., Bear Mountain, NY 10911
845-786-2701, ext. 266
Private skate sessions are available, but must be reserved by calling the office. Other winter fun includes sledding hills and trails for cross-country skiing. Fee: Adults (12 and up): $4 per person, $5 after 6 p.m.; Children aged 4-11: $3 per person, $4 after 6 p.m.; Non-skaters and seniors: $2 per person Skate rental: $4
123 Carpenter Ave., Newburgh, NY 12550
The park announces when skating is available (usually January and February), so call beforehand. Enjoy walking trails, the Shelter House containing the park office and visitor center, and guided park tours by appointment. Fee: Free, bring your own skates
Taconic State Park- Rudd Pond
59 Rudd Pond Rd., Millerton, NY 12546
Most popular in the Summer time for it's extensive hiking trails and swimming spots families flock to Taconic State Park to enjoy all the amenities the pond has to offer. In the winter months, visitors can ice skate and ice fish on the pond pending appropriate weather conditions.
Fancher Davidge Park
Lake Ave., Middletown, NY 10940
Skating on the large lake is weather permitting, with lights for night skating. There is plenty of room for hockey games, too. Fee: Free, bring your own skates
7 Stage Rd., Monroe, NY 10950
There are no extra frills at this pond, so bring your own thermos of hot cocoa. Skating is available when the flag beside the pond is green; when the flag is red, skating is a no go. Fee: Free, bring your own skates
Thomas Bull Memorial Park
211 New York 416, Montgomery, NY 12549
The extensive park grounds include an artificial pond for skating. Signs are posted when it’s safe to skate. Fee: Free, bring your own skates.
Winding Hills Park
1847 State Route 17K, Montgomery, NY 12549
Skating and ice fishing available when the ice is safe enough to skate on. Fee: Must have a park permit and register at the Ranger’s office. Bring your own skate
Ice Time Sports Complex
Ice Time has its own ice hockey league and figure skating club, and hosts special events. The rink has a concession stand and game room for those who need a break. Fee: $7 adult, $5 child (ages 10 and under). Skate rental: $3. www.icetimesports.org
McCann Ice Arena
McCann offers skating lessons, a hockey skill development clinic, and birthday parties. There is also a Learn to Skate program for skaters who have little to no skating experience. The $130 program includes one free pass to practice during a public session and a free pair of figure or hockey skates for you to keep when you register. Fee: $7 adult, $5 child (ages 10 and under). Skate rental: $3. www.midhudsonciviccenter.org
Kiwanis Ice Arena
The rink operates from the middle of August to the beginning of April. Learn to skate and learn to play hockey programs are free with admission on Sunday mornings. Fee: Adults $6, Students $4, Ages 5 and under, free Skate, sticks, gloves, helmets rental: $3 each. www.kiwanisicearena.com
Places to Find New or Used Skates:
Kiwanis Ice Arena
New and used figure
skating and hockey essentials, including a new line of Kiwanis Ice Arena
apparel. They offer trade-ins on skates and offer a steep discount on a brand
new pair if the used ones are in good shape. Saugerties: 845-247-2592. www.kiwanisicearena.com
Joe Fix Its
Joe Fix Its stocks new and
used hockey and figure skates and equipment during the winter. Everything from
"I just need something to get me out on the pond with my kids" to
"I want what Ryan Callahan is skating on." And if the skates are
thermoformable, meaning they're made with a custom-fit upper that form-fits to
your foot after some time in their special oven, the service is included (a $25
value). Most mid- to upper-level hockey and figure skates are thermoformable. Goshen: 845-294-7242 or Monroe: 845-774-2377. www.joefixits.com
Dick’s Sporting Goods
Sporting Goods stocks new hockey and figure skates and equipment in a range of
styles for every budget (and online orders ship free). Poughkeepsie Galleria: 845-297-4767 or Hudson Valley Mall, Kingston: 845-382-2151. www.dickssportinggoods.com