Winter Wonders

Credit: Jason Hall

Ice Skating

When sophomore Spanish major Amber Loomis was young she said she used to ice skate on a pond in her yard.

To this day, she enjoys ice skating as a winter activity.

“It’s just something fun to do,” she said.

Fortunately, while Northeast Ohio does offer a number of indoor and outdoor ice skating rinks, Kent State students need not look any further than the ice arena located right on campus.

Open to students and the public, the University Ice Arena offers public skating almost every day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. from September through April. During winter months, it is also open evening hours Thursday through Sunday.

A complete listing of hours is available on the Kent State Ice Arena’s Web site at Admission is $3 for Kent State students and skate rental is $2.50. It offers a snack bar that accepts university meal plans. For more information call (330) 672-2415.

If you’re looking for an outdoor ice skating experience, try the Outdoor Ice Rink at Falls River Square located in Cuyahoga Falls. Admission is free for Cuyahoga Falls residents and $3 for non-residents. All skate rentals are $3.

It is open daily through the month of December, and Thursday through Sunday in January and February, offering both afternoon and evening skating times. While you’re there, enjoy the seasonal decorations, shops and dining also located at Falls River Square. For more information, call (330) 971-8135.

– Christina Stavale


Sledding is overrated. It requires a tedious search for the seemingly unattainable holy grail of snow-covered hills and a penchant for maneuvering between rocks, trees and other potentially life-threatening obstacles, such as runaway tubes, meandering children and dogs.

The Chalet at Mill Stream Run Reservation is a great alternative for sledding enthusiasts, offering two 1,000-foot refrigerated ice chutes – no snow necessary.

Riders haul their toboggans to the top of the chutes and descend at an exhilarating speed, perfect for mild-thrill seekers and family gatherings.

Hats and gloves are required and guests must be at least 42 inches tall to ride.

Located in Strongsville, The Chalet’s ground facilities include a snack bar, a large-screen TV and two fireplaces.

Freshman education major Marilyn Bremer said she loves tobogganing and its excitable atmosphere “because you can go with so many people” and “follow it up with some hot chocolate.”

Bremer recommended taking a trip to The Chalet for a taste of winter recreation.

“It’s something fun to do when the weather is pretty bad,” she said. “Everyone says there is nothing to do in Strongsville, but (tobogganing) is so much fun.”

Junior merchandising major Allie Bokar said she has fond memories from past years at The Chalet.

“We used to have a ton of parties there in elementary and middle school, and it’s just nice to think about them,” she said.

From experience, Bokar made a few suggestions for future riders.

“Keep your fingers inside the sled,” she advised, “and if you’re a girl, bring a boy so he can carry the sled up the huge hill.”

– Jinae West


Maggie Marniella said she tries to go sledding at least three times a year. She’s also above the age of 12. Marniella has gone sledding since she was younger and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

“I decided to keep sledding in college because during the winter students tend to stay inside and keep warm,” said Marniella, a sophomore exploratory major.

Marniella said her favorite sledding hill on campus is Blanket Hill. For those willing to go off campus, she suggests a trip to Cleveland.

“The Metroparks are the best places to find some good hills,” Marniella said.

If you’re interested in going a little farther to find the perfect hill, Punderson State Park in Newbury offers a 600-foot hill.

Norman Swann, assistant park manager, said they’re expecting a good-sized crowd this year, but it all depends on Mother Nature.

“It’s all weather dependent,” Swann said. “It hasn’t been too busy yet because we just got our first snow. It’s a big time for sledding between Christmas and New Year’s.”

The hill is open until 9 p.m. on weekdays and 9:30 p.m. on weekends. The park doesn’t rent out equipment, but Swann said people can rent equipment from other places.

For those who want to let their inner child out, Marniella said sledding is one of the best ways to do it.

“Sledding is an excuse to leave the heated areas and go out with friends and have a good time like you are a kid again.”

– Brittany Moseley