The Oracle

The weather outside is frightful, but…

The Oracle lists fun ways to turn this winter into a delightful one.

Skaters whiz along the newly opened, 810-foot-long skating loop at the Central Park of Maple Grove.

Skaters whiz along the newly opened, 810-foot-long skating loop at the Central Park of Maple Grove.

Justin Christensen

Justin Christensen

Skaters whiz along the newly opened, 810-foot-long skating loop at the Central Park of Maple Grove.

Justin Christensen, Senior Reporter

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It’s time to dust off the heavy jackets and get out the box of winter accessories: hats, gloves, scarves and boots. This being Minnesota, there is no doubt that all of these items will be needed at some point or another—probably within a day or two. It’s the time where we can start seeing our breath in the air; where the sun seems to go down right after we wake up.

But it’s not all that bad. If a person has been here for awhile, eventually they learn to embrace the “W” word. Unless there is a possibility to move somewhere warm, winter is inescapable, after all.

So why not make the best of it?

This article will look at several fun things to do off campus, as well as what to look forward to on campus over the next month or two.

One place to visit around the Maple Grove area is the newly opened Central Park of Maple Grove. This park features trails, a playground, places to build snowmen and a unique feature not seen often around the Midwest: an 810-foot-long ice skating loop.

The 20-foot-wide ice skating loop is designed for leisurely skating and is open until 9:30 p.m. daily. This is a great place to bring family or friends, or even a date, to enjoy a relaxing winter night.

Patty Anderson, Administrative Supervisor for the Maple Grove Parks and Recreation Department, sees the ice skating loop as a popular winter destination.

“We had a great turnout over Thanksgiving weekend. We have had perfect weather all week for skaters. The word is just getting out what a fun winter activity this will be,” she said.

The ice skating loop is similar to an indoor rink in that it is refrigerated, and resurfaced with a zamboni at intervals throughout the day. The loop is lit during the night, and there is also holiday-themed music that skaters can enjoy. Anderson expressed how much planning went into this park.

“The park has been in the long range planning for 30 years. When the serious design construction work began in 2010, the ice skating loop concept was pursued. To maintain and operate the ice loop, it is a total team effort. The Ice Arena Manager, Park Maintenance crew, Operations staff and Programming staff are [all] involved,” she said.

Besides this ice skating loop, there are, of course, many other fun ways to cure the winter blues in Minnesota. For the first time St. Paul will be hosting the season finale for the Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship. This high-adrenaline event takes place Feb. 26 and 27 of next year. The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train will be rolling through Minnesota from Dec. 6-14. The train is decorated with wreaths and festive lights and helps raise money and awareness for local food banks. And of course the Saint Paul Winter Carnival will also be happening in Rice Park next year from Jan. 28 to Feb. 7.

Besides these, and the other vast array of winter events in Minnesota, there will also be many ways to enjoy the cold here at Hamline.

This upcoming Saturday, there are two events planned by the Hamline University Programming Board. The first is the Second Saturday Cinema Series where they are screening the film “Happy Feet.” The second is the End of the Semester Party, with the theme of “Treat Yo Self” this year.

There are also several events planned for J-Term. Catherine Jacobson (‘17), Development and Outreach Coordinator for Programming Board, explains how events are chosen during J-Term.

“J-Term is actually a time where Programming Board gives our volunteers the opportunities to plan and facilitate events,” she said.

Jacobson mentioned that these J-Term events aren’t set in stone yet, but the dates are. She did give a hint as to what to look forward to over the short, winter semester.

“I know we are bringing people cross-country skiing, I know that we are having a Second Saturday Cinema Series and I know that we are doing an open mic night,” she said.

In addition to these J-Term events, keep an eye out for Winter Wonderjam, another huge Hamline event, that will be taking place on Feb. 20.

Besides Programming Board, RHA, HUSC, Campus Rec and the other various Hamline groups and organizations are sure to have their own events and activities planned for the winter as well. So keep an eye out for those, too.

For more information about the Maple Grove Ice Skating Loop, visit, and for more information regarding any of the on-campus related activities, visit

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The weather outside is frightful, but…