After a year I have figured it out. The big fuss about skating rinks that is.
Last year I saw them in Mullheim and Lippstadt. Outdoor rinks installed around the end of November in public spaces and gone at New Year’s. Skates were available to rent and a good time was had by all.
This year, as I saw the construction of the rink in Emmendingen, it finally hit home. A skating rink is a big deal here because it is different.
As a Canadian I don’t think of a rink as different. A skating rink is part of everyday life. When I was young it was normal to build one in your back yard. Every neighbourhood park had an open-air rink. Every community of 3,000 people had an indoor rink, and the larger the community the more the arenas. Skating, especially hockey, is part of national psyche.
There would be no fanfare for a temporary rink, because rinks aren’t temporary, except as weather dictates. Kids can play hockey indoors year-round if they so desire. Outdoor rinks should last from December until March.
Last winter though it really wasn’t that cold in Sulzburg. Most days it didn’t drop below minus three. That’s not really cold enough to make a good rink. I guess they must use a cooling system for the ones set up in town squares. That gets expensive to run, which I guess is why they aren’t up very long.
I’m expecting it to be colder this winter, and maybe have some snow. I’ve taken my snow boots out of the box where they have been for the year since I purchased them, wondering if I will actually get to use them.
Maybe I’ll even get to build a snowman.
I probably won’t go skating though, even with a rink only a few towns away. I skated a lot in my youth, but have rarely done so as an adult. I didn’t skate more than once a decade in Ottawa, home of the Rideau Canal, the world’s longest skating rink. I may be missing the Canadian winter, but skating doesn’t have to be part of it.