The Arlington Square Ice Rink could be the closest thing to winter that residents will see in Carson City this holiday season - and hours have been extended during the break.
Starting today, three sessions will be offered daily except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Those who want to do something festive to celebrate Christmas Eve can take to the ice from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or from 3 to 7 p.m. Then, on Christmas Day, after all the gifts have been opened, skaters can get some fresh air and exercise at the rink from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"The ice rink is doing extremely well, with participation up 30 percent from last season," said Kurt Katzorke, recreation program manager for the Carson City Parks and Recreation Department.
And Joel Dunn, recreation supervisor for the city, said use of the rink this year has exceeded all expectations.
"We projected a 17 percent increase, but we're doing much better than that," he said.
With the holiday tree-lighting ceremony, 443 people participated in the discounted ice skating rates offered for the event, Dunn said.
A few changes were made this year to improve the experience for skaters, he said. The rink was moved closer to the street, the length of the rink was increased, and 50,000 feet of new tubing was installed to replace the old tubing. The tubing is under the ice and is what chills it.
"We also bought a skate sharpener because (the edges) wear out quickly. This will increase the quality of skating," he said.
Special hours will continue through Jan. 8:
• From Sunday through Thursday, sessions will be offered from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., from 2 to 5 p.m. and from 6 to 9 p.m.
• On Friday and Saturday, sessions are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., from 2 to 5 p.m. and from 6 to 10 p.m.
For the rest of the season, an after-school skate program is offered from 3 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for elementary and middle school students. The $5 admission fee includes skate rental and one hot beverage of choice.
Family night continues from 6 to 9 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays for $5, which includes skates. One skating parent must participate.
Operation of the Arlington Square Ice Rink is dependent on the weather and condition of the ice. Skaters are asked call the rink hotline before visiting to ensure that it's open and operating, Katzorke said.
The rink rents two kinds of skates in a variety of sizes. The smallest skate available is a toddler size 9 figure skate. The largest is a size 14 hockey skate. Hockey skates are wider and tend to work better for those with a wide foot, according to the website FAQs.
Participants may bring their own skates to avoid paying rental fees but the rink admission price still applies. Admission is $7 general (ages 13-up) or $5 youth (ages 3-12).
Children are not allowed to skate alone. Anyone 12 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
A concession stand inside the rink tent offers hot chocolate, coffee and some snacks, Katzorke said.
The ice rink will remain open through March 4.
For more information, go to the ice rink website to www.carson.org/icerink or call the ice rink hotline at 775-283-7429.