Don't count on skating outside this Christmas


The Farmington and Rosemount parks departments put opening dates on their website each year for their outdoor ice rinks. But those dates are never really more than somebody’s best guess. To make ice, you need cold. And predicting what the weather is going to do in Minnesota is never an easy job.
Going by the schedule, Farmington’s outdoor rinks were scheduled to open Dec. 18. Rosemount’s ice was supposed to be ready Dec. 19. Currently, neither city has rinks anywhere near ready for skaters.
That’s what happens when you have extended stretches of 40-degree weather and thunderstorms in December.
Rosemount parks and recreation director Dan Schultz is watching the weather and parks employees are ready to start flooding rinks as soon as there is a string of cold days.
That could be a while. Farmington parks and recreation director Randy Distad said the extended forecast doesn’t show any extended stretch of cold weather until sometime after Saturday.
Right now, Schultz said, the lack of frost in the ground makes it difficult to even get started forming good ice. Once the temperature drops, it will take three or four days to form a base that’s suitable for skating, Distad said.
Schultz said the city usually tries to keep rinks open longer at the end of winter if opening day is delayed, but that also depends on weather.
Residents mostly understand when weather delays the opening of the outdoor rinks, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t at least a little impatient. The city still gets some calls.
“Mostly it’s kids calling to see when they can go play hockey,” Schultz said.