There is a month left of winter but, as Portlanders know, the cold, rainy weather will last well into the spring. There were already limited activities to do in this weather in a non-pandemic world, so adding indoor restrictions leaves us with even fewer options. However, there is one classic activity suitable for such cold weather — ice skating.
Ice skating in Portland may not be as magical as our imaginations might lead us to believe (that is, we are not gliding across a small-town river while the snow gently falls down). However, it can still be an exciting and safe way to spend a Saturday afternoon with your pod.
There are two ice rinks in the Portland area that currently offer public sessions. Unfortunately, neither of them are close to the Pioneer Express routes, but Zipcars are available through Student Engagement. Zipcar is a car-sharing service where a student can rent a car by the hour any day of the week, once they create an account and verify their driver’s license. Directions for how to rent one can be found on the LC website. A Zipcar membership costs $7 a month and the standard rate to rent a car starts at $10.50 per hour.
The closest rink to campus is at Lloyd Center, a 16-minute drive without traffic. The mall’s ice rink is located on the first level across from Macy’s. The rink offers 45-minute public skating sessions, full-rink, for $20 per skater, rental skates included. Pre-registration is required and sessions are restricted to 16 people. They specify that masks must cover the mouth and nose at all times and that 15 feet of social distancing must be followed on the ice. Many of the stores in the mall are also open, so you could make it a day trip of shopping, skating and snacks.
The next closest rink is the Winterhawks Skating Center in Beaverton, a 20-minute drive from campus. They offer public skating sessions that are also 45 minutes and $20 per skater, but limited to 10 people per session for half of the ice. Skate rental is also free. Pre-registration is required, as are masks and social distancing.
The Winterhawks Skating Center is home to a few local hockey teams, such as the Portland Winterhawks (as the name of the center suggests) who are in the Western Hockey League. So, if you want to skate on the same ice as professionals, the Winterhawks Skating Center is a great option.
Both Lloyd Center and the Winterhawks Skating Center offer private and freestyle sessions, which are meant for advanced skaters wanting practice. If you are looking to take up ice skating or hockey as a new long-term hobby, Winterhawks Skating Center currently offers group classes through an 8-week program, which costs $150 and includes 8 free public skate sessions and classes 4 days a week with free rental skates. They also offer private lessons for ice skating and hockey at any level; prices depend on the instructor.
Unfortunately, the potential cost of transportation combined with the cost of skating are limiting factors for many, but this special excursion could be planned for one of the spring mini-breaks in late February and late March. Both rinks are open year-round, so keep this fun activity in mind for future months to come.