Ice holds a particular attraction for Minnesotans. They fish on it, play hockey on it, dance on it — I’ve even seen some of them put it in their drinks. It’s not hard to understand the affinity, given that the entire state is enveloped in the stuff for nearly ten months out of the year. It’s only natural that we should have figured out everything fun that there is to do with ice.

There used to be only two kinds of ice in downtown Minneapolis that you could go on: the ice on the river, which traversing is inadvisable because it’s on the river, and that on the streets which humbles even our most eminent professionals as it sends them flailing to the ground. The mpls downtown council didn’t think this would do, so they partnered with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and with Wells Fargo’s generous help they brought about the Wells Fargo Mpls WinterSkate, downtown’s own skating rink in the heart of Loring Park.

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Wells Fargo Mpls WinterSkate is totally free — all you need to do to enjoy downtown ice skating is to go to the rink, and if you don’t feel like lugging your skates all the way from home or haven’t got a pair you can use one of the 300 complimentary pairs kept onsite. Just go into the warming house, which is kept balmy thanks to the contribution of CenterPoint Energy, and tell them your shoe size. You’ll be Salchowing and triple Lutzing in no time.

Part of the beauty of Wells Fargo Mpls WinterSkate is that it doesn’t turn into WinterSwim when the temperature tips above 32. Because it’s the only refrigerated skating rink in the park system, Mpls WinterSkate is always ready for you to come and glide around there. Note that the warming hut will close when it’s 20 below, because the rink’s volunteers thoroughly enjoy having the same number of fingers at the end of each day as they started with.

The Wells Fargo Mpls WinterSkate opens at 12pm on Minneapolis Public School holidays so kids can make the most of their days off. They also host regular movie nights with ice-related flicks. In past years they’ve shown movies like Olympic romcom The Cutting Edge, Minnesotan masterpiece The Mighty Ducks, and inspirational docudrama Miracle. (Miracle, which stars Kurt Russell, isn’t the only cold-themed movie that the actor has starred in. It’s highly unlikely that WinterSkate will ever feature a screening of John Carpenter’s The Thing, however, because the city condemns the use of flamethrowers under any and all circumstances.)

Movie nights aren’t the extent of the Wells Fargo Mpls WinterSkate’s special events. They plan to offer free lessons on certain days as well as fitness skates, mascot skates, musical skates, and something fun to celebrate Hockey Day in Minnesota as well as.

WinterSkate is currently open and will remain so until the beginning of March. Warming house hours are 3pm through 9pm on Monday through Friday, 9am through 9pm on Saturday, and 10am through 6pm on Sunday. (Hours vary on holidays.) Visit throughout the winter to see the full event schedule and to check which movies will be shown this year. We’ll see you on the ice!


By David Scheller