Nice Ice, Baby

Behind the Zamboni at St. Croix Valley Recreation Center, indoor ice that has something for everyone.

In case you haven’t heard, St. Croix Recreation Center is a great place for the whole family to experience the winter (or summer) wonders of indoor ice. And this is thanks in no small part to the numerous employees and occasional volunteers behind the scenes at the space.

Ice, Ice …

“We have one field house,” skating director Jackie Loughrey says. “We have two sheets of ice in this facility, then we have Lily Lake that we manage as well.” The dome field house is 300 feet by 244 feet, and the ice sheets are 85 feet by 200 feet each.

With pristine facilities comes a wide range of activities that visitors can participate in, most notably open skate and open hockey. “Open skate is open to anyone,” Loughrey says. “It’s just whatever you want to do out there. You go out and skate. And then for our open hockey, it’s the same kind of thing. You’re just required to have a helmet on. And if there’s enough people, [participants might] do a game. Or they can just work on their skills. It’s not regulated at all. It’s just whatever they want to do out there.”

During the fall, winter and spring, open skate runs 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. “As for open hockey, that kind of is in the morning on the weekdays and then maybe on the weekends. It’s kind of sporadic during the fall through spring session. In the summer, we have open skate and open hockey a lot more,” Loughrey says. Open skate and open hockey each cost $4 for seniors and students and $5 for adults; skate rentals are $3.25.

There’s a Class for That

If you have no experience skating, there’s a class for that. Learn-to-skate lessons will teach you the basics, whether you’re interested in figure skating or hockey, and are available year round, Loughrey says: “It’s for anyone who wants to skate. You don’t need any previous experience. We start off the ice and, typically, we teach [students] how to fall down and get up and just get going.” Each session typically runs for eight classes and is 30 minutes long. In the fall, winter and spring sessions, options include Tuesday afternoons, Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings. Cost is $92 for an eight-week session, but if you sign up early you can get $5 off, and every skater that signs up gets 10 free open-skate passes.

The recreation center also holds a Spring Ice Show every year around the end of April. It’s open to anyone to participate in, whether you’re a pro or still learning. Interested parties “get grouped by ability,” Loughrey says. “They get four practices and learn a routine. And they all get costumes that they get to keep. We have two shows, one on a Friday night and one on a Saturday afternoon.”

Along with all of these activities, St. Croix Recreation Center also hosts the boys’ and girls’ hockey games for Stillwater and Mahtomedi high schools. The Stillwater Youth Hockey Association also has practices at the field house.

Off the Ice

Along with all the fun on the ice, the field house is open to anyone to enjoy some outdoor fun indoors. Loughrey says the center hosts many soccer and lacrosse games: “It’s typically just rented out by the soccer club, but we do have open field up there available,” she says. “Anyone can come and throw a ball around. People do ultimate Frisbee up there. We have walkers that come and walk around, too.” Open field is on Tuesdays and Thursdays and runs until around April.

St. Croix Valley Recreation Center has something for almost anyone. Find specific dates and more information about signing up for lessons on the website here.