Ice-skating at Traxler Park holds appeals for all

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Ted Sullivan
January 16, 2011
— It’s a way for parents to bond with their children.

It’s a romantic date for a couple who want to hold hands, laugh and feel like kids again.

It’s a reason for kids to bundle up in winter clothes, try something new and ask mommy for hot chocolate when they’re done.

It’s an excuse to wipeout, slide into a snow bank or bruise your bum.

Ice-skating at Traxler Park is much more than a winter sport. It’s an afternoon with family, a love story and that feeling that we aren’t so grown up.

It’s a time when it’s OK to look ridiculous. And it’s a reminder of what we love about Wisconsin.

Traxler Park was buzzing with dozens of adults and children Saturday afternoon, thanks in large part to a new flooding system that has preserved the ice and made for a longer skating season.

Fathers and sons were playing hockey. Moms and daughters were figure skating.

Couples were skating together.

Teen boys were chasing around teen girls. Parents were tugging their little ones along in sleds.

Inside the warming house, people sat near the wood fire. Others warmed up with hot cocoa.

“It’s fun to come here with your friends and your parents,” 11-year-old Mac Ryan said. “It’s great bonding time.”

The new flooding system was installed this winter. The city dug a depression and placed pipes to flood the area. Ice forms naturally on top of the water, which creates a more stable ice sheet. Crews used to spray water through hoses to create the ice.

The system has made the ice more reliable, boosting the number of visitors to the rink, said Craig Groninger, who was volunteering in the concession stand.

“People know it’s more likely to be open,” Groninger said. “Before, you just didn’t know.”

Hagen Harker and his son, William, said they skate at the rink regularly. They said they meet new people at the rink and enjoy being outdoors.

They said they have noticed the improvement in the ice from previous years.

Tobin Ryan and his son, Mac, said they’re making more trips to the ice rink compared to previous years. They said they have noticed more skaters, too.

“It’s great,” Tobin said.


Skating at Traxler Park is free. Skates also are available at no cost.

Hours are from 4 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon to 9 p.m. Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.

During open hours, the restrooms, concession stand and ice skates are available.

For questions, call Janesville Leisure Services at (608) 755-3030.

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