Skatium, Waitsfield, is a local home to winter weather enthusiasts from the Mad River Valley and beyond. Nestled near the Mad River Green, the Big Picture Theater and the newly opened Lawson’s Brewery and Tap Room, the home ice is an outdoor escape to many.
The ice surface is split 50-50. One half is dedicated strictly for skating, while the other is dedicated to stick and puck, where individuals who want to work on their basic hockey skills can practice.
Skatium offers skate rentals to visitors who lack the appropriate attire. Skate sharpening is also offered to the public.
Skatium first opened in the winter of 1992-1993 and has been open every winter since then. On average, Skatium can see several dozen visitors a day, with a few hundred on the weekends.
Don Swain, a volunteer for the rink, hopes to have the rink open in time for the Christmas holiday. “We are weather dependent because we are currently operating with natural ice. Weather permitting, our goal is to be open for the Christmas/New Year’s holidays, as has been the case the last two winters.”
“As we get closer to the opening date we will be better able to set our events schedule, which typically includes sled hockey, adult hockey, private ice skating parties, and free skating time for school recreation programs, in addition to our daily public skating and stick time hours,” said Swain.
The rink is still in its opening process, weather permitting, with a start date in mid-December. The Valley Reporter was able to catch up with another volunteer, John Townsend, as he was preparing the surface.
Townsend, driving a large tractor on the wet snow of the rink, was preparing the surface for a roller to pack down the snow. Townsend said that the rink is in a prime location for visitors to make use of it in the winter. Townsend also enjoys seeing younger individuals take advantage of the rink who can both free skate or do stick work.
With the early winter season here, locals can check out to see if the schedule changes on the Skatium Facebook page. The hours can also be found by calling 802-496-8845.