Get a warm winter feeling at the Webber skating pond

Bundle up and skate to your heart’s delight at the new Webber skating pond. Enjoy it now; it’s only open until about February 20. Photo by Alex Bowback.

Bundle up and skate to your heart’s delight at the new Webber skating pond. Enjoy it now; it’s only open until about February 20. Photo by Alex Bowback.

What do you wait for? In the cold dark months of December and January many of us huddle up with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book, and wait for light and warmth. This works for awhile, but the phrase “cabin fever” acknowledges the human need to get out and be active in the world outside of our homes. I know the thought of getting outside and “enjoying” the cold, dark winter days is an anathema to many people, but recent research reveals the power of “mindset” in how we experience winter.

Kari Leibowitz, a PhD student at Stanford University decided to study the mental health of people who “endure” long cold winters. She had noted an unusual phenomenon among Norwegians who live in the far north – they had a lower rate of seasonal depression. So in pursuit of an answer and a PhD, she went to Tromso, Norway to see how people “coped” with winter in a place where the sun sets in late November and doesn’t break above the horizon until late January. What she discovered was that people don’t “cope” with winter at all. They truly enjoy winter, with its subtle beauty of “soft indirect” light; a mysterious beauty that is precious and accessible only in northern climes. They believe there is no such thing as bad weather, “only bad clothing,” a phrase that has taken root in Minnesota as well. They embrace “koselig,” which is a stress free sense of coziness and they get out and enjoy their neighbors’ companionship at community events and festivals.

So what are you waiting for? I know some in our community have waited five years to go skating at Webber Park. Well, your wait is over. The Webber Park warming room (aka the pool house) is quite likely open as you read this article and is scheduled to be open through February 20 if the weather cooperates. During winter break and school release days the warming house will be open from noon until 9 p.m. daily, except holidays. During the rest of the winter it will be open from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

The new facility offers “koselig” with a warm view of the rink and the ambience of the fireplace inside. Who knows, with a little community input we might be able to get some hot chocolate and music to add to the coziness?

A note to hockey players: leave your sticks and pucks at home. Webber is now a skating only rink. If you want to play hockey you will need to go to Bohanon Park or North Commons Park. Both parks have hockey rinks which are available for public use unless there is a game scheduled and they are open during the same hours as the Webber Park rink. If you really want to play hockey during the holidays North Commons will be open on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day from noon-6 p.m.