The Rink: Outdoor Skating at Hamilton Town Center Business Spotlight
Writer / Teresa Lorton
Photographer / Sarah Steele
Indiana natives Sarah and Austin Steele brought their love of ‘all things outdoors’ to Noblesville and built an ice skating rink in the heart of Hamilton Town Center. The Rink is an open air skating venue open daily in the area near Santa’s House on the west side of the mall. The rink is approximately 5,000 square feet, designed for freestyle skating, not hockey. It’s decorated with festive lights to give night skating some extra twinkle.
The idea was the brainchild of Austin who learned to embrace winter during his time in Minnesota. “Instead of staying inside and avoiding the cold, people up north tend to celebrate winter and build family memories,“ says Sarah.
Austin and a friend discussed the idea of a skating rink near a mall, and they became convinced the idea was a winner. Sarah started researching companies that could help with the logistics, and after about two years, their plan began to take shape. With the enthusiastic participation of Simon Malls, The Rink got the green light.
The company that specializes in building the temporary rinks currently has 62 in operation including one in Hawaii, so unpredictable or unseasonably warm Hoosier weather should not deter skaters. According to Sarah, there is nothing else like The Rink in Indiana. “It’s really a fascinating process to see it come together,” she says. “It starts by building a giant sandbox.”
Dimensions of The Rink are about 85 feet by 65 feet, and it’s cooled by a system of coils placed atop the sand. Coolant runs through the coils, powered by a giant generator near The Rink. Once the structure was completed, it was time to start making the ice. That was done gradually in thin layers to form a base of ice about six inches thick.
The Rink will be open through January 31, and there is a trailer on site with about 200 pairs of rental skates. There are also benches surrounding The Rink for those who would prefer to spectate rather than participate.
“We are hoping families will start to build winter traditions around The Rink,” says Sarah who is helping her 3-year-old son master the ice. “We are all about the experiences, not the things. That’s the sentiment we are trying to promote here.”
The plan is for The Rink to be dismantled in early February and rebuilt again every year to coincide with the arrival of Santa Claus at Hamilton Town Center.