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Not everyone yearns for a winter getaway in the balmy climes of Cancun or Aruba. Some of us long for the frigid temps that bring out the cross-country skis, sleds, toboggans, and ice skates. Ice skating, now there is a winter activity — exercise and great fun all at once. And right here, in our own Forest Park, is one of the best reasons to get out of the house in winter. Founded in 1957, Steinberg Rink offers public skating daily, from November to March. And after a recent $1.4 million-dollar renovation, the rink is in top form with a new surface and sound system.
I grew up in Michigan, “the winter wonderland,” and we had nothing like Steinberg Rink. For one thing, it’s big, the largest outdoor skating rink in the Midwest, which means you can really gather steam, chugging along, arms swinging, building a rhythm, a cadence. There’s something quite pleasant about lapping this icy arena. It is not monotonous as there are always people to watch: the speed skaters on the outside, crouched forward, hands behind their backs, elongated blades flashing; the figure skaters in the center doing their pirouettes; the neophytes clutching the railing, gaining confidence with each tentative step. And the rest of us gliding along, one foot in front of the other, hoping not to fall, as the ice isn’t cushioned.
From the colorful swirl of people in motion to the sounds of laughter and animated chatter to the smell of the wood smoke from the log fire, skating at Steinberg Rink is a unique urban experience even if it means simply circling around and around and around.
(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)
A journalist and photographer since 1982, Wm. Stage has plumbed the life stories of thousands of people. He has taught photojournalism at Saint Louis University's School for Professional Studies [1990-96] and he is an alumnus of the Photojournalism Workshop, offered by University of Missouri - Columbia's School of Journalism and held in a different Missouri town every year since 1946. He is the author of six non-fiction books including Have A Weird Day: Reflections and Ruminations on the St. Louis Experience. He lives with his dog, Jack, in The Hill neighborhood of St. Louis.