Whether it’s a sunny day under the shadow of Mt. Shasta or a cold night under bright, illuminating stars, the Siskiyou Ice Rink is one of a kind in our community. Heck, it’s one of a kind in the world.
As a Northern California resident, skating on a beautiful outdoor ice rink seems foreign. When you add to the spectacle the stunning view of Mount Shasta constantly hovering above, you realize that this isn’t just another ice rink.
The Siskiyou Ice Rink is a gem in NorCal – and a frozen one at that.
At the Siskiyou Ice Rink, you can be a novice skater looking for a rare ice experience, an amateur looking to nail your first figure skating trick or a pro showing off your skills in a hockey game, this rink literally has something for everyone. Programs offered at the rink include open family skating, a full hockey program, learn-to-skate and figure skating classes, competitions and shows.
While the rink is typically only open for around three months every year, the tourism effect is felt in Mt. Shasta City.
For local business, the rink draws over half of its weekend skaters from outside Siskiyou County. Restaurants and local businesses even notice an increase in volume when the rink opens, and a decrease when it closes each year. It’s become the heart of the downtown community of Mt. Shasta.
The rink was first built in 2000, and its road to success has been a slow, bumpy process. The rink originally consisted of a set of boards around the rink, a chilling system and plumbing system to move coolant to the ice surface and a Zamboni to clean the ice. The plumbing consisted of plastic tubes embedded in a sand floor. In 2004 a cement pad was poured below the ice, greatly improving its quality. Each addition and improvement to the rink was made possible by donations, grants and community fundraising.
The existence of the Siskiyou Ice rink is made possible by the participants, but you can’t forget the man hours the volunteers put in every day.
The operational costs of the rink are defrayed by admission fees, skate rentals and season passes. However, Friends of Siskiyou Ice Rink, a non-profit organization, raises contingency funds for the purpose of covering operational deficits should they occur.
The Friends of Siskiyou Ice Rink is a major part of this rink’s existence. Every year, the non-profit organization uses fundraisers to fund any costs incurred over revenues and make any improvements needed, or wanted, at the rink.
In 2011 when the rink was forced to close due to a number of factors, it was “The Friends” who stepped up with a grassroots campaign to raise money and awareness in order to address the rinks problems. “The Friends” have scored donations to expand the rink to a fully NHL regulation-sized rink. Other funded improvements include the purchase of a Zamboni, new dasher boards, improved electrical wiring, lighting and sound, improved drainage, and new skate sharpening equipment.
(It should be noted that a anonymous donor has given hundreds of thousand of dollars to the rink of the past few years. We won’t attempt to guess the identity of the donor, but from everyone in the community, we want to give a thunderous “thank you!”)
Today, the rink is flourishing with out-of-towners and locals alike flocking to the rink to free skate or play hockey. If you haven’t had a chance to experience one of the true winter gems of Northern California, it’s well worth the commute and potential cold weather. Dress warm and prepare for an experience you’ll never forget.
For more information on the Siskiyou Ice Rink and Friends of Siskiyou Ice Rink go to siskiyourink.org. This year, the rink is open until February 10.
Let’s take a look at the fun times that can be had at the Siskiyou Ice Rink: