The Peter Nabholz Circle Skate Way has seen huge success through the winter months by providing Moosomin residents with a place they can enjoy the crisp winter air while maintaining a safe social distance.
The skate way was originally set up to help provide more ice for skaters due to the COVID-19 restrictions, but the Director of Parks and Recreation for Moosomin, Mike Schwean, says it will return each winter.
“When we put our outdoor arena ice in, the COVID restrictions told us we would be limited to 10 people on the outdoor arena, which has since changed. But regardless, we felt that wasn’t accomodating enough for enough people so we built a skate way with COVID-19 in mind. We made it 12 feet wide so people can pass and keep their distance. So that’s why we made it, because of the COVID restrictions. As luck would have it, restrictions changed to allow us to have up to 60 people on the skate way, which is pretty cool. We did it just because of COVID-19, and COVID-19 has been devastating but we’ve had something good come of it,” said Schwean.
He explained that the project originally was just intended to be provided for the winter to help keep more people on the ice, but the skate way’s popularity grew throughout the winter months.
The skate way has also provided a great source for activity for the Saskatchewan Blue Cross Go Out and Play Challenge, a challenge where communities can log hours of activity and compete for a grand prize of $10,000.
The grand prize money must go towards a community project that will benefit outdoor activity. Something Schwean says would go towards expanding the skate way for next winter if Moosomin won.
“If we were fortunate enough to win even though we had some issues with the warm weather, we wanted to expand the skate way next year and that’s something we would look to do. The skate way was a tremendous success this year and we learned a lot doing it and we’ve kind of got a better understanding of how we can expand that area. Having said that, I think the important thing for us was having the opportunity to put the skate way in place this year. We’re committed to expanding that regardless if we won the grand prize or not. I think we realize just what we have and what we can do next year. So we’ll look at ways to get funding and expand that skate way and make it into not just one skate way, but maybe two or three skate ways.”
Unfortunately due to a sudden streak of warm weather causing the ice to melt at the skate way, Schwean explains they were concerned about being unable to utilize it for the Go Out and Play Challenge.
But even with the bumps in the road, Schwean has big plans for the future of the skate way.
“Our plan for Go out and Play was to use the skate way, but the weather was so warm that it was our concern that the ice wouldn’t be good enough to use. So a couple of weeks before the event starting there is a lot of time and effort that needs to be put in leading up to the challenge, so we just decided that we had other things we needed to focus on and made the decision that we wouldn’t invest too much time in it. We didn’t feel like we lost, though. We have people using the skate way which is a great thing and we have a vision for an absolutely amazing facility next year so we don’t consider ourselves losers in the challenge, the key is just for people to get out and enjoy it, and that’s the most important thing. Our vision for the future is going to be fantastic.”
One plan they have in mind is using the skate way for holiday events, something they had considered earlier this year but were too late to act on.
“In November we saw a tremendous opportunity for holiday skating and holiday events so next year we hope to get out on the park in October and decorate it for the holiday season and winter and then do something for Christmas, whether it’s a hot-chocolate night or a festival night that kind of thing. We have lots of plans for that facility.”
But it’s not just the skate way that Schwean promotes for outdoor activity, he explains that there’s plenty of different ways to enjoy the final days of winter outdoors.
He says that there is something for everyone to enjoy.
“The skate way and outdoor arena are two choices that we would highly recommend. There are other choices as well. I know the Fieldstone Campground has done some cross country skiing and there are also opportunities to snowshoe outside at the lake and go skating there. There are all kinds of opportunities around here that are not only great activities but inexpensive or free in a lot of cases. I think that’s really important. There’s really a lot of options for us to get out and about here in Moosomin and we’re fortunate to have as many amenities as we do in such a short distance. There’s everything from skating to skiing to tobogganing to snowshoeing and fishing. They’re great activities. There’s really a lot of things to do.”
The Saskatchewan Blue Cross Go Out and Play Challenge began on March 1st and will run until March 10th, the winning community will be declared on March 12th.
Spencer Kemp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator