Chillin' out
Ice center accommodates beginners, hockey players
By Erica C. Cline | Lifestyles Editor
Wednesday, July 13, 2005

When the Augusta Ice Forum opened in early 1999, it was envisioned as a place where the young and old could gather to learn to skate, play ice hockey and keep cool from Georgia's scorching summers.

Under new management, the facility became the Augusta Ice Sports Center in 2001, but that didn't change the center's goals.

"(The center) was always envisioned as a place for open skating; it's always been multipurpose," said Andrew Austin, the center's skating director.

That multipurpose includes classes in figure skating and hockey.

The facility also is the training ground for the Augusta Lynx hockey team when the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center isn't available.

Mr. Austin said the center can be used by people of all skill levels.

He compared ice skating to in-line skating and said he thinks it is easier to learn than learning to skate on four wheels.

"Blades are more forgiving," he said. "Plus, with a blade you can move a little to the sides, unlike on regular roller skates, which are linear."

Reach Erica Cline at 828-2946 or erica.cline@augustachronicle.com.

WHAT YOU NEED

There's not much required to spend an afternoon keeping cool at the Augusta Ice Sports Center, but you should keep a few things in mind.

- It's not called ice for nothing. It's cool in the building, and if you're a beginner, you probably won't be working up a sweat to keep you warm. Wear long pants and layers so you can shed them if you get warm. You also might want to wear gloves if you think you'll fall.

- Ice-skate rentals are $3 at the Ice Sports Center, but if you think you're going to continue with the sport, or take up ice hockey, you can purchase skates at the center or at area sporting good stores. Figure skates range in price from $20 to more than $150, and hockey skates range from around $30 to more than $200.

- Bring change so you can rent a locker for your shoes, keys, etc.

GET ON THE ICE

THE PLACE: Augusta Ice Sports Center, 1249 Augusta West Parkway, offers public skate sessions seven days a week: noon to 5:50 p.m. Monday, noon to 3:50 p.m. Tuesday, noon to 5:50 p.m. Wednesday, noon to 3:50 p.m. Thursday, noon to 5:50 p.m. and 7-10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and 7-10 p.m. Saturdays and 2-5:30 p.m. Sunday.

COST: Sessions are $6, and skate rentals are $3.

INFORMATION: Call 863-0061.

UPCOMING EVENTS

- Augusta Ice Sports Center is offering free one-hour skating lessons for children younger than 18 who are interesting in playing ice hockey. The classes are at 5:45 p.m. Sundays through July 31.

- The center will hold a basic-skills competition from 4-7 p.m. Saturday that is free to the public.

From the Thursday, July 14, 2005 printed edition of the Augusta Chronicle
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