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Gloversville ice rink is open for the season

The Gloversville ice skating rink at Littauer Field is shown in a photo from earlier this month. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

GLOVERSVILLE — The recent cold snap heralded winter fun for area ice skaters at the Lucius N. Littauer Community Ice Rink at 27 Union St.

The rink is now open for use every day that temperatures are below 35 degrees during daylight hours for those who own their own ice skates, with skates available for rent from the Gloversville Recreation Commission on Saturdays and Sundays.

Recreation commission member Logan Barclay said the city Department of Public Works set up the rink sidewalls a couple of weeks ago, with members of the commission along with City Clerk Jennifer Mazur and volunteer Brandon Rowback subsequently working to set up the liner, fill the outdoor rink with water and surface the ice before it opened for the season on Sunday.

“We will keep it open as long as we can,” Barclay said Tuesday. “Usually around the end of February or early March it starts to get too warm to maintain the ice.”

The commission assembles the 100- by 60-foot rink each year, offering skate rentals and concessions for a few hours each weekend with the help of volunteers. The commission purchased the rink materials and ice skates several years ago utilizing grant funds from the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation.

Barclay said ice skate rentals will be available this year on Saturdays and Sundays from about 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. depending on the availability of volunteers, suggesting that anyone planning to rent skates check the Lucius N. Littauer Community Ice Rink Facebook page where hours will be posted each weekend before heading over.

Both figure and hockey skates are available in most sizes for a rental fee of $1 for children and $2 for adults. Barclay said rental fees are used to maintain and sharpen the skates.

For small children just learning to skate, Barclay said there are double bladed skates available to make balancing easier and a training rail that children can use for extra support while on the ice.

“Kids usually catch on pretty quickly, it’s just a matter of getting used to balancing on blades,” Barclay said. “We have kids probably age five and up that usually start skating.”

Barclay said he spent part of the rink’s opening day on Sunday showing children how to skate, a skill he learned just a few years earlier.

“I learned how to skate on this ice rink when I joined the recreation commission,” Barclay said. “It wasn’t terribly difficult, because I used to rollerblade, stopping took some practice.”

While it varies for each child, Barclay said many children master the basics of ice skating over the course of an afternoon leading to a winter of outdoor fun.

“They usually can get the hang of balancing and moving around a little bit, but picking up speed and stopping takes some practice,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to get out in the winter time and do something fun. You’re moving around, so you’re not really cold and we have music playing, so that’s fun.”

Barclay said the commission members and volunteers prepare a family friendly playlist of music to play during skate rental hours and operate a concession stand offering light fare for purchase including candy, popcorn, soda, bottled water, hot cocoa, coffee, chili and hot dogs.

Barclay said the ice rink’s first day was a success, with a number of people gracing the ice and he is looking forward to the remainder of the winter season.

“We had a lot of people come, people are pretty excited and the rink was pretty packed,” Barclay said. “I just hope we stay open as long as we can and everybody has a good time.”

Skate rentals at the Lucius N. Littauer Community Ice Rink are $1 for children and $2 for adults.

Ice skate rental hours are based on the availability of volunteers, hours can be verified each weekend on the Gloversville Recreation Commission Facebook page or by calling Barclay at (518) 775-3166.

Anyone interested in volunteering to assist maintaining the rink or running the ice skate rental and concession stand can message the recreation commission on Facebook or contact Barclay by phone.

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