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Learning a Minnesota tradition on NY Mills skating rink

Megan Reidel swerves through cones set up on the ice to practice turning and stopping. Connie Vandermay/FOCUS1 / 2
Will and Lacey Seim watch Abby Reidel practice skating using a chair for balance. They were part of about 22 kids who attended the free ice skating lessons. Connie Vandermay/FOCUS2 / 2

Despite the changing ice conditions, New York Mills held its first-ever free skating class recently.

Fundamentals of Skating was offered to elementary age students throughout the month, with more than 20 kids attending.

Volunteer instructor, Sara O'day, used to take her daughter to Wadena for an instructional skating course, but this year decided to start her own skating class in NY Mills.

A variety of activities were offered to help kids at every skill level. Some students were using chairs or hockey sticks for support, while others learned how to turn and skate backwards.

"The kids are amazing," O'day said. "I am there to assist and teach the basics. However, they are the ones teaching themselves to skate."

O'day said the skating process requires continual learning - after a skill is mastered, there is always another challenge ahead.

"Like anything we do, it is practice, which in this case is ice time, which is what the class gives, the opportunity to be out on the ice," O'day said.

"This (NY Mills) rink has been here for years and has always been maintained very well. It's a nice attribute to the community," she added.

Because of the warm weather, the city has been flooding the rink more than usual to keep ice usable.