Pictured here is the Waterhouse Center skating pond in Kennebunk.

Pictured here is the Waterhouse Center skating pond in Kennebunk.

A s the highlights of the holiday season approaches, the only snow to be seen was a small pile on the rear patio of the Kennebunk Waterhouse Center’s skating pond. Unfortunately, it was merely the debris left by the Waterhouse Zamboni ice machine.

Despite the lack of snow and cold temperatures, the ice at the Waterhouse Pavilion is cooled by a sophisticated bit of technology that keeps the ice twice as nice even when the temperatures are in the 60s. Recently, skaters have been seen circumnavigating the rink in shorts and t-shirts.

Folks in Kennebunk have been skating since the week before Thanksgiving and the facility is open to the public from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the weekdays and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the weekends.

There is no fee for taking turns on the ice, but you must come with your own skates as there are no skate rentals.

On Sunday, Dec. 20, from 2 to 4 p.m., the center will be hosting “Carols On Ice” with music, skating, and a holiday singa long led by a bevy of local singers and choirs. Hot chocolate and a selection of tasty treats will be available. The event includes a skating demonstration by members of the North Atlantic Figure Skating Club. The club, based in Falmouth, offers a series of Learn to Skate programs, but also hosts a Synchronized Skate team, called the Nor’Easters.

Synchronized skating is a team sport in which a group of 8-20 skaters perform a program of teamwork, speed, and intricate formations that include spins, circles, wheels and elements of dance. According to the U.S. Figure Skating Association, synchronized skating is one of the most popular facets of U.S. Figure Skating. There are approximately 650 synchronized teams registered with US Figure Skating. Competitions are judged using the same system used in singles and pairs. If you are interested in getting involved in a Learn to Skate program, or joining the synchronized team, call 207-781-5058 or visit the web at www.northatlanticfigureskating.org. The club’s home base is the Family Ice Center in Falmouth. A new session of classes begins on Jan. 9. A highlight of their Kennebunk presentation will be the solo dance-skate to John Lennon’s song “Happy Christmas” by Kennebunk High School’s Samantha Abelson. Abelson is a high school junior dedicated to making a mark in the world of figure skating.

The Waterhouse Center has become a hub of community activities all year long and is a smartly designed facility, open to the air, but protected from the elements by an expansive roof. This past summer, on July 30, the Portland Symphony performed a full program of music during the height of a massive summer rain storm with no weather interruptions. The thunder added a bit of percussion and the rain pelted the roof, but most of audience stayed high and dry.

Another very popular recreation activity at the pavilion is Pickleball. When skating season is over the floor of the pavilion hosts three Pickleball courts and the enthusiasm for the sport reached epidemic proportion this past summer and fall.

So while we wait for the snow to fall, we can revel on the ice.

Greg Morell is an avid ski, snowboard and Cross Country enthusiast. He can be reached at [email protected]

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