Good news for skating enthusiasts!

Temperatures have dropped across Southwestern Ontario, making it perfect weather for skaters to take a spin on outdoor ice rinks.

Volunteers maintain the public skating rink at Roselea Park in Waterloo. A local community association is tasked with handling the upkeep, which includes shovelling and flooding the ice.

“I just love that the rink is ready to go and it’s beautiful weather for skating,” saidSheena Daw, who lives near Roselea Park. “Very, very grateful for all the neighbours that help out to make this rink happen. There’s a group in our neighbourhood that is very dedicated and really do everything that they can.”

The mild January weather left the ice too soft to use, so neighbours are thankful for the cooler temperatures.

“They got it up now,” saidBarry Weppler. “It’ll be good until sometime next week again. But you know, we need cold night weather.”

According to Jeff Yuke, the temperature needs to drop to roughly minus ten degrees to build a solid base. Yuke, also known as the ‘rink guru’ by his neighbours, said his rink would normally be in perfect condition as early as December. This year however, that wasn’t the case until late January. Now he said he hopes to have his rink up and running through to the end of March Break.

“Who doesn’t love to throw their stuff on and go to the [outdoor rink] and slap pucks around with their buddies? That’s Canadian right there,” said Yuke.

Robert McLeman is a professor of Geography and Environmental Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. He also monitors weather patterns by collecting staking conditions of outdoor rinks across North American and said this year has beenthe latest start of the season since the program began about a decade ago.

“This winter has been a very challenging onein Eastern North America for building outdoor skating rinks,” said McLeman. “There’s a shrinkage in the outdoor skating season. The seasons are starting later, they’re getting messier during the season,so more freeze thaws cycles in January and February. Collectively there are few skating days in a typical winter.”

Looking to the future, McLeman said that the window is going to shrink further to maybe four good weeksof cold weather. That means skaters should take advantage of the outdoor rinks while they’re still able to.

The Roselea Park rink is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. for ice skating. While there are no skate rentals on site, residents can borrow a pair from the Eastside Branch of the Waterloo Public Library at RIM Park.

It is one of 35 natural outdoor rinks across Kitchener but there are several more throughout Waterloo region. Kitchener currently has four rinks open to the public with volunteers working to get the rest open as soon as possible.

To see a map of the ice rinks, whether they're open or not and schedules, check out: