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Mild Weather Delays Opening Of Minneapolis Outdoor Skating Rinks

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- There was optimism that skating rinks on Lake of the Isles would open on Monday.

The Minneapolis Park Board's Robin Smothers said that part of the lake is shallow and had a solid coating of ice about a week ago.

"Lake of the Isles has a thicker base because it's water-based and in the shallow part of the lake, unlike man-made rinks, which warm faster with the earth," said Smothers.

"But, this weekend's warm weather just put a delay on that as well," she said. "We need the ground to be frozen. It is now, but then the air temps have warmed up. As soon as we lay down a base, the water is melting."

The hope now is the weather will get cold enough that all rinks in Minneapolis can open by the end of the year. Until then, it's the warming house for anyone with skates or plans to kick it around on the frozen surface.

"We have a whole bunch of disappointed broom ball teams," Smothers said. "We have 272 teams currently waiting."

Last month's frigid weather wasn't cold enough to freeze the ground below the rinks. Now the ground is rock-hard, but the air temperature is preventing solid ice to form.

"November's cold weather did allow us to get a great base going, but the warmer temperatures eroded that base down," said Smothers. "Now, I believe we're starting if not at square one, then close to square one."

Minneapolis Park crews are waiting for several days of frigid weather before they can start prepping the man-made rinks, and then get them open. This is the first time in several years that warm weather has kept man-made ice rinks closed in Minneapolis this late in December.


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