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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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New Year’s Eve on ice: Cold doesn’t keep hundreds of skaters away from Riverfront Park

UPDATED: Sat., Jan. 1, 2022

A skater zips by on New Year’s Eve while looping the Skate Ribbon at Riverfront Park in downtown Spokane.  (Colin Tiernan/The Spokesman-Review)
A skater zips by on New Year’s Eve while looping the Skate Ribbon at Riverfront Park in downtown Spokane. (Colin Tiernan/The Spokesman-Review)

Single-digit temperatures weren’t enough to keep people off the ice on New Year’s Eve.

Throngs of skaters Friday night packed the Numerica Skate Ribbon at Riverfront Park before ringing in the new year. The ribbon is a thin strip of outdoor ice that loops around in an asymmetrical oval, with skaters all going in the same direction.

The majority of people who came to the ribbon for DJ Night on the Ice at the park weren’t especially strong skaters. Many shuffled around the track of ice, falling and often clinging to the Plexiglas boundary wall for dear life.

But spirits were high nonetheless.

Gigi Buchan and Nikolas Schmidt said during a Zamboni break that they came to the ribbon to hang out with friends and hadn’t been skating in years.

“It’s so much fun,” Buchan said. “I haven’t fallen yet.”

Schmidt said that he’d taken a few tumbles but was still having a blast.

“I’m having a good time,” he said, “enjoying the downtown scene.”

Chloe Gross, one of Buchan and Schmidt’s friends, said she was enjoying herself but noted she fell on the downhill part of the ribbon.

“I slid like 300 feet,” she said, admitting that “it hurt.”

None of the skaters, young or old, seemed to mind that it was below 10 degrees.

“Even though it’s cold, it’s worth it,” Buchan said.

Skating’s hard work anyway.

“I’m sweating from being out here,” Schmidt said .

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