Boji Bay Ice Arena hosts open skate

Around this time of year there is plenty of ice on the Iowa Great Lakes. But it’s the indoor ice that draws the biggest crowds every Friday and Saturday night in Spirit Lake.

Boji Bay Ice Arena opens up its rink every Friday and Saturday from 7-9:30 p.m. from the beginning of October to about the middle of March for public open skating.

Admission is $5 per person and skates are available to rent for $2 per person.

Be ready to arrive early though. Lines often start forming as early as 6:30 p.m. and rental skates are often gone quickly, especially in the most common sizes.

“Open skate is super popular. I think we average around 165 skaters a night which is a pretty good number,” said Amber Raveling, board president of the Lakes Area Hockey Association.

The arena’s first season was 2012-13 and open skate started about a year later.

It’s popularity took hold fairly quickly.

“I think in this area it’s one of a few things kids of all ages and families can do together inside,” Raveling said. “It’s cold in there but they really enjoy it.”

It’s not just Lakes residents enjoying an evening on the ice.

According to Raveling they also have a lot of Spencer families coming up to Boji Bay Ice Arena.

“People have a good time, bring their friends, and it grows from there,” Raveling said.

Prospective visitors are encouraged to visit the arena website when they plan an ice skating excursion as sometimes open skate will start late and can be canceled altogether if hockey games or tournaments run long.

On the ice they play games like the limbo and the vibe is similar to what you might see at a roller skating rink.

“Limbo is a popular one — the kids are always asking when they get to do the limbo,” Raveling said. “This is also the first year we put together an open skate committee to come up with some new ideas that haven’t been done before for our community.”

So far they’ve held a costume party for Halloween as well as a special skate on New Year’s Eve.

If the idea of gliding around on the ice has you a bit nervous, Raveling suggests a simple solution.

“Every fall we host clinics. There is ‘Learn to Skate’ for kids and my personal favorite ‘Learn to Skate’ for adults,” Raveling said. “I did that this fall and for people that want to take their kids skating but don’t know how to skate — it’s totally worth it.”

No matter your skill level, open skate nights at Boji Bay Ice Arena open the doors for everyone.

Just make sure to get there early.