On Wednesday, Jan. 21, the Town of Colonie's three outdoor skating rinks opened for the season.
Skating at the rinks, one at the pond in the Crossings of Colonie, one at the tennis court at the West Albany pocket park, and another at the tennis court at the Kiwanis Park on Route 2, is free and open to the public. Skaters, however, must bring their own skates.
According to Kevin Morgan, park director of the Crossings, the park has had a rink since its opening in 2003. The rink at the pond is located between walking trails and the central buildings that house events and celebrations throughout the year.
It's a man-made pond, and it's a natural for ice skating, said Morgan.
Morgan said the Crossings rinks open whenever "Mother Nature allows it."
According to Superintendent of Parks and Recreation Don Myers, last year, the rinks were only open for one weekend.
"It all depends on weather conditions," said Myers. "If it starts getting really cold and there's no snow, then it's beautiful."
Myers said snow can create poor skating conditions on the ice for skaters, so the Parks and Recreation Department has to brush the snow off whenever it snows. The department sets aside $20,000 in its budget for the outdoor rinks, but Myers said the entire amount is not used in the season.
The two rinks that rest on top of tennis courts provide an advantage for maintenance crews, according to Myers, because a truck with supplies is able to drive onto it.
In terms of safety, Myers said all the rinks are safe because they are monitored before skaters arrive on the ice, although the rinks atop the tennis courts naturally have an added safety advantage as there is no water beneath.
Still, Myers said, the rink at the Crossings is the most popular of the three.