Park City Ice Arena thrives during holidays
Ruby Gillin was born on New Year’s day, 2001. And, her parents wanted to throw a birthday party for her, but a lot of fun places were understandably closed. But not the Park City Ice Arena, which goes out of its way to be open every holiday for people like Ruby. More than 20 friends joined Ruby at the arena for her birthday, a holiday on ice.
With its first year of holiday festivities now under its belt, it is a good time to reflect on one of Park City’s slickest new venues. How did the holidays go for the Arena? "We were slammed," said General Manager Stacey Noonan, with the enthusiasm of the late Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin. Noonan said people came to the rink for a quick holiday activity. "It’s so nice to see families coming out and doing stuff together," she said.
Kathy Jones, the front desk cashier, said she thought about 60 percent of the holiday skaters came from out of town. A lot of out of towner’s took private skating lessons, Noonan said. She thought word of the new arena was passed on by concierges.
Some arena guests showed up wearing Christmas presents of new skates. "The funny thing — new skates are not sharpened. They have no edge," Noonan said. The arena staff was careful to watch for skaters with new, un-sharpened skates, who were easy to spot , because they were "all over the place," she said.
Those new un-sharpened skates made a relatively inexpensive holiday gift — as far as equipment to slide on goes — with skates on average ranging from $50 to $200 for non-professional skates. Hockey players get hit with an additional $400 -$800 dollars of purchased padding, according to Noonan. She said the arena requires hockey players to wear the full pads and equipment for safety.
Colin Hilton, the CEO of the Utah Athletic Foundation, brought his son Shane, 3, and a friend of Shane’s to skate on New Year’s day. He said Shane is in the learn-to-skate program, and "is going gangbusters." Hilton said it was "satisfying to see all the expectations of use coming to reality."
Ruby Gillin had her ice skating birthday party, with one unfortunate turn of events. Her parents, Bill and Dana Gillin, reserved the rink for early evening on the first, two weeks in advance, but Ruby broke her toe (not skating) the day before Christmas, and was unable to skate. The Gillins decided to hold the birthday party on ice anyway, and take Ruby on the ice in a special sled.
With the holidays over, the ice arena, under Noonan, will slide into its learn-to-skate children’s programs and get the hockey leagues back on the ice, and the figure skaters leaping. Hilton said one of the best things Park City did was to hire Noonan, for her enthusiasms and promotion of the facility. A lot of out of towner’s took private skating lessons, Noonan said.
Noonan , on the first day of the new year, said , "I love this place. It’s such a diverse group of opportunities on ice."
For more information about a variety of weekly programs, clubs and leagues, or to reserve the arena, call 615-5700, or visit http://www.pcice.org
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