When Dayton freezes over

Having fun outside – even during Snowpocalypse

by Kristen Wicker

Photo: Outdoor ice skating is available at Riverscape MetroPark from Nov. 28-Feb. 28

Skating instructor Cheri Snyder and Jim Jasinski of Curl Troy want people to get over their fear of what happens when things ice over – and get outside at the MetroParks Ice Rink this winter.

“There’s nothing like skating outside,” Snyder, who teaches lessons for adults and kids at the rink located at RiverScape MetroPark in downtown Dayton, said. “It’s a whole different atmosphere, and the ice rink is so beautiful and always very festive.

“I just really enjoy getting people out on the ice,” Snyder added. “It’s a fun pastime, a fun thing to do with friends and family and it’s good exercise.”

For Snyder, that pastime started later in life.

“When I was 44, I took my first lesson and pursued it through all the levels,” she said. “So I understand the plight and fear of most adults. People definitely have a fear of falling. My goal is to focus on safety and comfort – I want to take the fear out of skating. I want people to learn they can stop a fall before it starts, fall easier if they do go down and get up safely and have fun skating around the rink. I tell people that after the first minute on the ice with me, they’ll never touch the wall again. I fall down stairs. I trip on rugs. So if I can do it, anyone can. Skating is really pretty easy when you come down to it.”

Jasinski says the same about curling, the sport played with brooms and stones that gained worldwide attention during the 2014 Winter Olympics.

“You can master curling in a half hour,” he said. “Then the challenge comes trying to execute the moves perfectly every time as the ice conditions change. People always leave with a smile on their face and make some new friends out there on the ice. It’s a very non-intimidating environment, and curling is a very social sport.”

Jasinski and others at Curl Troy, which runs a league at the MetroParks Ice Rink, want to see more people on the ice. Participants learn the basics of the sport in this more recreational than competitive league.

“Our ultimate goal is to grow the sport and get more people involved,” Jasinski said. “Curling is something you can do when you’re 10 or 90 years old. Playing at RiverScape MetroPark is very different than other curling venues. When you’re outside, the wind and maybe snow are blowing; you hear different sounds, like birds and the river; and there are lots of different things going on. It’s a less controlled, more chaotic environment and a lot of fun.”

Yet ice skating and curling are only two of many ways you can experience the outdoors and connect with nature in your Five Rivers MetroParks this winter. Check out the activities below and visit metroparks.org/winter to learn how you can get outdoors in the frosty weather – while warming your mood.

Sledding

Five Rivers MetroParks has four sledding hills: Englewood MetroPark, West Park (use the 100 E. National Rd. entrance, follow the park road to the right for parking and take a short walk through the woods to the hill); Germantown MetroPark (6206 Boomershine Rd.); Taylorsville MetroPark (east side of Brown School Road, south of U.S. 40) and Carriage Hill MetroPark (pasture next to the Visitor Center, 7800 E. Shull Rd.).

Cross-country skiing

The hiking trails at Carriage Hill, Eastwood, Huffman, Island, Wegerzyn and Possum Creek MetroParks are ideal when snow is on the ground, as are the region’s more than 300 miles of paved bikeways.

Ice fishing

Ice fishing is permitted at some MetroParks, although ice conditions are not monitored. Winter anglers can try Carriage Hill MetroPark (fish without a license at Cedar Lake and North Woods Pond), Englewood MetroPark (off Old Springfield Road, Ohio fishing license required) and Possum Creek MetroPark (ponds and Argonne Lake). Visit metroparks.org/winter.

Hiking

Hiking trails are open all winter long in most MetroParks, and the trails at Germantown and Twin Creek MetroParks run through some of the region’s most pristine natural areas. Some trails are plowed, and others are packed snow. Winter can be a great time for birding and spotting other wildlife as the downed leaves create open views.

Ice skating

Sheltered under the covered pavilion, the MetroParks Ice Rink hosts outdoor skating from Nov. 28, 2014 through Feb. 28, 2015. Patrons may skate daily, including during all holidays. Serving hot chocolate and other treats, Silver Fern Café is open during the rink’s hours. Admission is $5, and skate rental is $2. Rink rentals are available Sunday and Thursday evenings for special events. Skating lessons and events, such as themed skating nights, are held throughout the winter, and season passes are now available. Call 937.274.0126 or visit metroparks.org/icerink.

Broomball

Registration is now underway for the Dayton Broomball Association’s co-ed recreational and competitive leagues held at the MetroParks Ice Rink. Leagues fill quickly, so call 937.274.0126 or visit daytonbroomball.org/riverscape to join. If you’d rather just watch, stop by the rink on Mondays and Wednesdays, Jan. 5-Feb. 23 from 6-8 p.m.

Curling

Curl Troy will accept the first 18 teams for this five-week league at the MetroParks Ice Rink that starts Jan. 6. No experience is required. Visit curltroy.org to register. To watch, stop by the rink on Tuesdays, Jan. 6-Feb. 3 from 6-10 p.m.

Reach DCP freelance writer Kristen Wicker at KristenWicker@DaytonCityPaper.com.Page

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