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CitySkate at CityScape brings ice-skating wonderland to downtown Phoenix

Outdoor rink offers Arizonans a place to ice skate under the night sky

 City Skate

During the holidays, Phoenix residents can ice skate in the middle of downtown Phoenix as part of City Skate. (Photo: City Skate)


Downtown Phoenix might not seem like an ideal spot to have an ice skating rink, even during the cooler months of the year. But CityScape is bringing ice skating into the desert again anyway.

This year, locals and visitors can experience CitySkate, Phoenix’s own downtown ice skating rink, from Nov. 26 to Jan. 8.

Sara Anderson, marketing director for CityScape, said for the last seven years, CitySkate has brought a touch of winter to Phoenix and has turned into an annual tradition for some locals.

“It transforms into this winter wonderland that everybody is welcome to be a part of,” Anderson said. “It’s becoming more and more about the community. It’s just really fun to see people own it like it’s their community and their space.”

During City Skate, an ice skating rink and large decorated

During City Skate, an ice skating rink and large decorated tree are set up in the middle of downtown Phoenix. (Photo: City Skate)

Maintaining ice in a warmer climate takes special chemicals and equipment. Nick Bazso, manager for CitySkate, said a chiller unit and a glycol solution play a big role in it.

“That glycol solution we use, we can get that down to about negative 25, but normally, we are keeping it at about 0 degrees,” Bazso said. “That’s constantly pumping through and then returning back to the chiller.”

An Arizona Coyotes fan and former hockey player, Bazso fights forest fires in the summer in the Gila District and manages the downtown Phoenix rink in the winter.

Bazso said during his time with CitySkate, he has witnessed countless special moments between families and couples. He said being out on the ice puts most people in good spirits.

“When the tree is lit, and everything is going nice, and you can just stand there on the steps and look at everyone having fun, you get to soak it all in,” Bazso said. “There’s very few people who come out here and have a bad time.”

CitySkate will open on Nov. 26 with a day of festivities that includes visits from Anna and Elsa from “Frozen.”

The grand opening also features a performing arts preview with performances from the Phoenix Symphony, Arizona Opera, Valley Youth Theatre and Great Arizona Puppet Theater.

During City Skate, an ice skating rink and large decorated

During City Skate, an ice skating rink and large decorated tree are set up in the middle of downtown Phoenix. (Photo: City Skate)

“We are trying to give people an introduction to the performing arts scene that is downtown,” Anderson said.

The grand opening will coincide with the city of Phoenix’s annual lighting of the 36-foot holiday tree in the center of the rink.

Santa will visit the downtown rink on Nov. 26, Nov. 27, Saturdays and Sundays from Dec. 3 to 18 and Dec. 9.

Anderson said although the ice rink is the main attraction, visitors don’t have to skate to have a good time.

Along with the Christmas tree, the rink has a number of great backdrops for photo ops, including a mural project created by six local artists, a giant present and a heart-shaped sculpture.

In the past, visitors have taken family, engagement and wedding photos at the rink.

During the nearly two months of its run, the ice skating rink draws around 200,000 visitors. Anderson said it attracts people of different ages and backgrounds.

Although the rink draws experienced skaters, it is meant for people at different levels, including beginning-level skaters.

Ice attendants, many of whom are local hockey players and figure skaters, will be on hand to help newbies tie their skates and learn the basics.

Bazso said many first-time skaters are nervous at first but pick up ice skating quickly.

“You go around on the side one, two or three laps, and then you start getting braver and braver. Pretty soon, you’re skating around with no problem,” Bazso said.

During City Skate, an ice skating rink and large decorated

During City Skate, an ice skating rink and large decorated tree are set up in the middle of downtown Phoenix. (Photo: City Skate)

Members of the Arizona Coyotes will teach skating clinics on Dec. 21 and 27 from 10 to 10:45 a.m. and 11 to 11:45 a.m. Reservations are encouraged because space is limited.

This year, the skates have been broken down into different sessions to reduce wait times. On Mondays through Thursdays, the rink will have 5 to 7:30 p.m. and 8 to 11 p.m. sessions; on Fridays, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., 5 to 7:30 p.m. and 8 to 11 p.m. sessions and on Saturdays and Sundays, 3 to 5 p.m., 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and 8 to 11 p.m. sessions.

CitySkate

Where: CityScape, 1 E. Washington St., Phoenix

When: Saturday, November 26-Sunday, January 8.

Admission: $25 express pass. $15 general admission. $10 discounted tickets available to members of the military, senior citizens and children 8 and under. Discounted tickets also available to college students on Sundays. Children 3 and under free.

Details: [email protected] 602-772-3900. phxicerink.com

The rink will be open on Christmas Eve until 6 p.m. and Christmas Day from 5 to 11 p.m.

The price of general and discounted admission includes ice skate rentals, and the express pass lets visitors skip long lines.

During the season, non-profit groups will sell hot chocolate at an onsite stand as part of a fundraising effort benefiting different local organizations, including Special Olympics Arizona.

From November through January, CityScape will also offer other holiday events for different crowds.

On Friday, Nov. 25, CityScape will host an Alternative Black Friday Vintage Market with vintage and handmade vendors, a mimosa bar and acoustic musicians.

The space will have showings of the holiday films “Elf”  and “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” on Dec. 9 as part of its ongoing second Fridays “City Lights Movie Nights” series.


Source: CitySkate at CityScape brings ice-skating wonderland to downtown Phoenix