BILLINGS — The ice skating rink at Veterans Park is returning for another year, and Billings Parks and Recreation is taking advantage of the cold weather to get it started.
For the past 10 to 15 years, parks and recreation has transformed the piece of the park at 2609 13th St. W. into a skating rink.
“It’s all hit and miss. It’s all dependent on the weather so if it’s not cold enough, you know you can’t make ice. So, we have good cold weather right now. Good ice making,” Mike Pigg, the parks superintendent, said Tuesday.
Pigg said the city is experimenting with a new way of freezing the water this year by adding a sprinkler system into the mix, as well as walking with the hose to spray water.
“So, the guys, you know, every year they try and perfect how they make the ice. So, this year they came up with this idea to use a sprinkler to kind of mist the water out there and hopefully it forms a layer of ice quicker and we get to skating sooner,” Pigg said.
Michael Wehrman plays, refs and coaches hockey and has been skating for as long as he can remember.
“My oldest memory is getting double runner blades for Christmas,” Wehrman said.
He believes free winter activities like this are more important than many realize.
“My opinion is, it’s so hard to get these kids off the couch, off the computers, off the TV, and this is one thing that once they get addicted to the speed and the fun it’s easy to say, 'let’s go skate,'” said Wehrman.
But you’ll need to wait a bit longer before pulling out your skates - which you'll need to bring yourself. The ice needs to be a couple of inches thick before it’s good to skate on, so Pigg said to check the parks department’s website for when it will be ready.
“Our goal is always to have ice for when the kids get out of school for Christmas break. So, there’s something for the families to send the kids off to go ice skating,” Pigg said.