Skating on thin ice: Indianola opens new ice skating rink


Visitors enjoy Indianola’s new ice skating rink after colder temperatures finally set in. Photo by Coby Berg/The Simpsonian

by Blake Carlson, Staff writer

Balmy winter temperatures make for a comfortable weekday walk to class, but they aren’t quite suitable for a weekend skate on the ice.

Indianola Parks and Recreation has been battling the warm temperatures all season, which have delayed them from opening the new community ice rink.

The rink, which is located at Pickard Park on Highway 92 E was a gift from Wells Fargo and the Iowa Wild, and is one of six rinks installed throughout the Des Moines metro earlier this winter.

Due to the warm weather, the Indianola rink was unable to open until Jan 22.

According to The Weather Channel, 28 of the 31 days in December 2018 were above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. With temperatures that high, it has been nearly impossible for the ice to freeze thick enough for skating.

Indianola Parks and Recreation Director Dan Bylund said there have been a few instances throughout the season where the ice was about ready, only to be melted again.

“The thickest ice we have had was on Dec 12 for the grand opening, but that day the temperatures were in the ‘40s and the ice began to melt, so we could not use it,” Bylund said. “We have had three different times since then with nearly enough ice, only to have it completely melt when the sun came out.”

Though the weather has not been ideal so far, Bylund is still looking forward to the rest of the season. With the sudden arrival of frigid low temperatures, the rink is now in operation.

Simpson sophomore, Jared Campbell from Marietta, GA, has only ice skated once before. His first experience on skates at the Brenton Skating Plaza in downtown Des Moines ended with a couple bruised knees.

“I was ice skating with my dear friend and I decided to lock my knees,” Campbell said.

Taking a hard fall after losing his balance, Campbell has been waiting all winter for an opportunity to redeem himself on the ice when he is confident enough. He is excited for the opportunity to do so right here in Indianola.

The ice rink is free to the public though skates are not provided. Opening information will be posted on the Indianola Parks and Recreation Facebook page. Weather permitting, the rink will be open through the end of February.

Mother nature did create some growing pains this inaugural season, but the city still plans to continue offering the new recreational opportunity in the future.

“We do plan to install the ice rink in future years, Bylund said. “We will evaluate the location after this season and possibly move to another location.”

Because the ice has been so thin, Bylund has only been able to slide around on the rink in his shoes. Now that the rink is open, he might just be out on the ice in a pair of skates.

As for Campbell, he is not so sure. He will have to wait until next season.

“I would have to say no, but I would love to watch the other people skate,” Campbell said.

Hours of Operation for the rink include daily hockey from sunrise until 12:00 p.m. and ice skating to follow from 12:00 p.m. until sundown. For more information on the ice rink rules visit: