A smorgasbord on ice
November 30, 2010
If you’re looking for a diamond in the sagebrush in Summit County, look no farther than the Park City Ice Arena.
Open since March 2006, the arena at Quinn’s Junction plays host to an abundance of activities and programs for locals and visitors alike.
Whether you’re interested in slapping hockey pucks at an empty net or enjoying some holiday-season skating with the family, the arena has almost everything to offer the community in terms of frosty indoor recreation.
But the arena could always use a few extra bodies in the building and on the rink every once in a while, according to workers.
Customer service specialist and front desk authority Kathy Jones, who has been with the arena for quite some time, sees the ups and downs of activities come and go.
Jones said the programs at the arena have grown in numbers and credibility throughout the years, with so many options available to Summit and Wasatch County residents that many people have a hard time choosing what to do.
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"We offer youth hockey leagues, adult hockey leagues, figure skating clubs, curling clubs, speedskating clubs, open and public skate, four or five professional figure skaters on staff that teach private lessons, a semi-pro hockey team," said Jones rattling off amenities offered by the arena.
One of the arena’s biggest mountains to climb is the competition from the three ski resorts in Park City.
Chanz Skeffington, an operations assistant at the arena, said that it’s not uncommon for people to not even realize there’s a noteworthy ice rink in town.
"Every once in a while, we’ll have a party held here and people will say, ‘Oh my gosh, we can come here? It’s awesome, we love skating,’" he said.
The arena is making strides in getting its name out.
For the third year in a row, the arena will be hosting the Park City Christmas celebration on Dec. 14. In previous years, it was held at the Miners hospital. There will be a lighting of a Christmas tree, Santa Claus, and free ice skating for anyone attending.
"That’s been moved out here so people can skate," Jones said.
The versatility of the arena is a testament to its patrons, its workers and its organizers, who have turned the rink into a platform for several activities on a daily basis.
Activities such as high school hockey and semi-pro Park City Pioneers games are available, to go along with open skate sessions, which entails keeping the ice free for a couple hours for those who just wish to strap on the skates and glide around the rink.
There are also drop-ins programs in place for hockey and speedskating.
Jones and Skeffington concurred that the biggest draw consistently is drop-in hockey for those who wish to just hop on the ice and play a pick-up game.
"We fill up really quickly," Skeffington said.
There is a Saturday curling club that features 10 teams.
Skeffington also referred to a "big annual event" at the arena. Former NHL star and current Wasatch County resident, Luc Robitaille has a charity event during the Sundance Film Festival, which is an impressive draw for the facility.
"We get a bunch of ex-NHL players in here," Skeffington said.
The arena sees use remain steady from late October until spring, according to Jones.
While it’s difficult to compete with the three resorts, the arena benefits from the snow more than most would imagine.
"Plus, the population doubles during the ski season," Skeffington said. "A lot of international workers that are here at the resorts come in and skate at night."
Lauren Anderson, a Park City resident, is appreciative of the arena. Her two children ages seven and four are avid skaters at the open-skate sessions.
"They do love it," she said. "We come here a lot. It’s perfect."
The Park City Ice Arena is becoming a landmark in Park City and hopes are that more people will take the winding road to the rink to see what it has to offer.
"I think there’s a good handful of people that know we exist," Skeffington said. "It’s fun to do something else besides skiing every once in a while."