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The City Journals

Cottonwood Height Ice Rink offers cool summer activities.

Jun 19, 2017 12:02PM ● By Koster Kennard

Students form ring around Caitlin Ross during summer Learn to Skate Ice Show.

By Koster Kennard | [email protected]
Although Cottonwood Heights Ice Arena is more popular during the winter months, the venue offers ice-skating programs throughout the year.
During the summer, classes are smaller and the rink provides an avenue for kids to get out of the heat while staying active.
“You’re in a smaller class, which gives you just a little bit more one-on-one time with each instructor, which is always helpful and there are less bodies on the ice,” said Skating Coordinator Kathy Valburg.
Classes at the ice arena include lessons for beginners as well as figure skating and ice hockey classes.
“Our beginning Learn to Skate program is geared toward all disciplines of skating, so we’ve taken out all the quote ‘freestyle skills,’ the jumps and spins so we are teaching basic skating skills that apply to figure skating, hockey (and) speedskating,” Valburg said.
Valburg said their program teaches basic ice skating so kids don’t have to learn skills that don’t apply to sports they already play.
“For our clientele, we were having a lot of dads coming in saying, ‘I don’t want my son or daughter learning how to do these tricks that they don’t need for hockey.’”
When students have passed the five-skill test proving they have learned basic skating skills, then they are allowed to participate in the cutting-edge specialty skating classes for figure skaters.
“We offer specialty classes where if you want to do (the) figure skating discipline, then you’ll start learning the jumps and spins that you’ll need to know to do figure skating events,” Valburg said.
Cutting-edge classes meet on Wednesdays from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. and include eight classes and participation in the Summer Learn to Skate Ice Show on August 18.
“Our figure skating program is quite strong,” Valburg said. “We have one of the largest figure skating clubs in the state. This is their home rink and they’ve been here more than 35 years.”
The facility started offering Stick ’n Puck ice hockey programs in June.
“If you want to learn the hockey, we’ve now got the hockey where you learn to do stick handling and drills that you need to be able to do to play on a team for hockey,” Valburg said.
Andy Davis, the recreation program coordinator at Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center, said their goal is to have a house team at the Cottonwood Heights Ice Arena.
“Hopefully by this coming season,” Davis said.
Davis talked about their first Stick ’n puck session.
“A lot of these kids have never had gear on before so it’s a totally different skating style, but we teach them how to skate, how to actually be in proper form for hockey, how to hold a stick, passing, shooting,” Davis said. “You know, all the fun stuff so they’re enjoying it.”
Valburg said many skaters who went through their ice skating programs come back to teach or have gone on to make ice skating a career.
“We’ve got some staff members who have been part of Disney on Ice,” Valburg said. “They’ve done traveling shows, ice shows on cruise ships. You make it a career if you really want to do that.”
The ice arena is located in the Cottonwood Heights Parks and Recreation Center at 7500 South 2700 East.
The arena opens at 6:30 and is open until 8:45. Open public skating hours run from 2–4 on Mondays and Wednesdays and from 2–4 p.m. and 6–8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Valburg said ice skating teaches kids that it’s OK to fail.
“(Ice skating) teaches perseverance,” said Valburg. “The first thing you learn in skating: you fall down you have to get back up. And you’re doing it a lot throughout your career whether you’re a beginner, an intermediate skater or a champion. Champions are falling every day repeatedly and getting back up.”
Even though most don’t think of ice skating when they think of summer, it can be great time to skate, said Valburg.
“The nice thing about doing it during the summer is that the classes are smaller so there aren’t as many bodies on the ice,” Valburg said. “You’re coming in from the heat. It’s a nice cool place to do an activity. That’s one of the nice things about summer.”