The Gem City is enjoying a winter past time, even when it's not freezing outside.
River Skate, an area ice skating rink, opened up for the season in November.
The Tri-states is not traditionally an ice skating hot zone, but that's all beginning to change.
Chris Dye opened River Skate last year, luring more than five thousand skaters to the banks of the Mississippi here at Clat Adams Park. And this year is bigger yet. Click here to learn about this year's numbers.
Mild winters put traditional rinks on ice ... but all-weather rinks like this change that.
One thing that makes River Skate so special is the actual skating surface. It's synthetic ice and not only is it good in any temperature, It's also the perfect place for beginners.
"You get on real ice and you're slipping and falling, you can walk on this ice and learn at your own pace," Dye said. Click here to learn more about the synthetic ice.
And, if you do fall, this synthetic ice has a little more give. It's also popular with professional athletes.
"Oksana Baiul has one of these in her basement she says she loves skating on it because she doesn't get so cold and she doesn't get wet," Dye said. "A lot of professional NHL players have one in their basement, too, so they can skate laps in their off season and keep their legs warm."
The only drawback to this type of surface is that skate blades go dull a bit faster than on traditional ice. But that's easily fixed with a sharpener and a little elbow grease. Dye says it's a small price to pay for an ice rink ready for anything Mother Nature has in store.
Click here for the basics on ice skating.
Santa will be stopping by River Skate this Saturday the 14th from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Heâ??ll spend his time skating with the kids, asking them what they want for Christmas. Santa will also take pictures and hand out candy canes. River Skate will also be open for regular skating Saturday from noon to 9 p.m.
â??We had a couple hundred skaters last year skate with Santa and we hope to have even more this year,â?? Dye said. Click here to learn more about it from KHQA This Morning.
River Skate will be open through February 23. The hours of operation run from Wednesday through Friday from 4 to 9 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from Noon to 9 p.m.
River Skate will also be open extended hours during Winter Break again this year. They will be open from Noon until 9 p.m. every day from December 21 through January 5. It will be closed Christmas Day and New Yearâ??s Eve with reduced hours on Christmas Eve.
Admission is $4 for kids 8 and under and $6 for adults, which does include skate rental.
The rink is also available for private parties, fundraisers and corporate events. For more information contact Chris Dye at email@example.com, 217-209-2610, Facebook: River Skate, Twitter: @RiverSkateQCY, or online at www.riverskateqcy.com/â??.