New trail ready for use in Central Park; give it a try during Fitness Fever

    After about a year of envisioning an “ice trail” for people to skate on in Central Park, the trail is not a reality. Even though the weather has been consistently chilly as heck, a few people have been curious enough to give it a try. It will also be open for skating this Sunday, when the latest February Fitness Fever event takes place in Central Park and near the swimming pool parking lot, with sledding, snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing.

    “We wanted to try this but we really didn’t know what the outcome would be,” Parks & Recreation Director Scott Riopelle tells the Times.

    In order to make it happen, Parks & Rec staff had to clear a path around two football fields long, or 200 yards. Water was then applied along the route from a truck equipped with a tank and eventually froze. Riopelle said the initial ice came out perhaps smoother than expected, but the plan is to use the City’s oldest Zamboni to smooth out the rough spots.

    No forms or boards were needed to provide defined borders for the trail, Riopelle said, as the snow along the sides of the trail was sufficient to keep the water where it needed to be. “And it freezes quickly,” he added.

    This first trail is kind of the Guinea pig, Riopelle said, and now that staff kind of have an idea of what goes into making one, the hope is that future ice trails will be longer. “This was a trial and error year,” he said.

    It looks like a slow warm-up is just about upon us, and Riopelle urges skating enthusiasts to give the trail a try. “It isn’t quite the same as skating on an indoor rink, as there are and will be imperfections outside, but those that have been there really did enjoy their time out there,” he said.