Jason Curtis of Gorham practices hockey last January with his daughter, Casey, on the rink near Narragansett Elementary School in Gorham. File photo

Maine’s time-honored tradition of ice skating melted down with moderating temperatures and rain after Christmas, but those in charge of some of the outdoor rinks are patiently toughing it out until temperatures plummet.

“We just need some cold weather,” said Neal Reynolds, outdoor operations supervisor of the free rink at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester.

Open water and snow Jan. 6 at the Shaw Cherry Hill Farm rink on Route 25 in Gorham. Robert Lowell / American Journal

Cindy Hazelton, Gorham Recreation director, said she has her fingers crossed for lower temperatures for the town’s three rinks: behind Old Robie School, 668 Gray Road; at Narragansett School, Main Street; and Shaw Cherry Hill Farm, Route 25.

“Tentatively we are going to offer a pop-up event on Saturday, Jan. 28, from 9 a.m. to noon where Gorham Parks and Rec will be on site with free ice skate rentals, hot chocolate and music,” Hazelton said Jan. 6.

“Should we get snow … we will have our snowshoes also available for free rental,” Hazelton said.

In Windham, public skating is available at Donnabeth Lippman Park on Chaffin Pond, 18 Chaffin Pond Road off Route 302.


Windham Recreation Director Linda Brooks said she’s banking on ice for an upcoming s’mores and skate night from 6-8 p.m. on Jan. 27.

“We are hopeful that these colder temps over the next few days will restore the great ice we had during Christmas vacation week,” Brooks said earlier this month.

Westbrook has free public rinks on Lincoln Street and Stroudwater Street.

“Because they’re not refrigerated, there won’t be any ice until we get a good stretch of temps 10 degrees or colder, probably late January,” said Greg Post, community services director.

In Buxton, there’s an outside rink at Bonny Eagle Middle School, 92 Sokokis Trail. The lighted rink is open from 4:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

The ice rink behind Newbegin Gym on Main Street in Gray is available to the public during daylight hours. Children under age 12 must be accompanied by an adult.


Natural skating opportunities include the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s 40-acre Chandler Mill Pond (formerly Lily Pond), off Chandler Road in New Gloucester.

Mark Latti of the IFW offers some precautionary advice for skaters there and at other natural ponds and streams.

“Ice safety for skaters … it’s a timely topic, I would give them the same advice I give to ice fisherman,” he said.

That includes:

• Always check the ice. Drill or chip a hole. For non-ice fisherman, some household items you can use to check are a cordless drill with four-inch bit, a hatchet or axe, or wood chisel. If you have an ice fisherman in the family or nearby, borrow their ice chisel or auger.

• Check the ice in multiple locations. Ice conditions and thickness change, so check in different spots.


• Look for 4 to 6 inches of solid ice to support a group of skaters.

• Stay away from inlets and outlets of ponds. Currents can wear away ice.

• Ice can be thinner near points of land that extend out into a pond, or where there are exposed rocks.

Above all, Latti said, check the ice and check it multiple times.

Meanwhile, as you wait for the ice outdoors, you can always skate indoors at the William B. Troubh Ice Arena, 225 Park Ave., in Portland.

“We’ve seen an uptick,” Jake O’Donal, arena manager, about patronage during the warmer outside temps. “People seem to be enjoying it.”

The arena has ice time available to the public every day except Thursdays. Cost is $6 per person and skate rentals are $3. For times and more information, call 774-8553.

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