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Sanbornton Rec, Pines Community Center team up for winter skating program

Eight-year-old twins Eli and Katherine of Tilton were all smiles as they practiced their skating skills at Tilton School's MacMorran Field House last Sunday. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
January 11, 2018
TILTON — Sanbornton Recreation Department and Pines Community Center kicked off their joint six-week skating program at the MacMorran Field House on the Tilton School campus this past Sunday night, an event that was highly praised by participating families from Sanbornton, Tilton and Northfield.

"I grew up in Tilton, but we've never done this before. I don't skate but I brought my kids down to tonight and I can't believe how many people are here. This is just great," said one mom as she watched from the sidelines.

Beginning at 5 p.m. each Sunday night from now until Feb. 19, residents of all three communities are invited to take advantage of the opportunity to skate for free in a sheltered indoor arena.

"We've been doing this for more than 20 years, and Tilton School has been very generous in allowing us the use of their ice rink," said Julie Lonergan of Sanbornton Recreation. "They're great community partners and we appreciate it very much."

Beginning skaters get the first half hour (5:15 until 5:45 p.m.) to themselves. To help them get their footing on the ice, the two recreation departments provide secured stacks of plastic milk crates that they can hold on to as they glide around the rink. Parents often join them, offering tips and encouragement as they go.

"It's my first time skating. It's a lot of fun," said one smiling young girl as she headed back out on the ice.

At 5:45 p.m., beginners with crates are limited to a coned-in ring in the center of the arena where they can continue to practice while family skaters take over the outside oval. At 6:45 p.m., Tim Walter of Tilton School pulls out the Zamboni to refresh the ice surface then it's open skate from 7-8 p.m.

When not out grooming the ice, Walter also offers $5 skate sharpening should anyone need to get their skates back into shape for the winter.

Popular hit tunes fill the arena to add extra fun to the night while Pine Community Center provides snacks, hot chocolate and cold drinks for those who wish to take a break and watch all the action. Executive Director Brittani Stewart said some weeks they hope to offer pizza, chowder or other hot foods for sale as well.

"All the money raised through the food sales will help us refurbish the art room at Pines Community Center," added PCC Recreation Director Samantha Magoon.

For more information on the free skate program, contact either of the recreation departments at 393-6665 (Sanbornton) or 286-8653 (PCC).

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