Outdoor rink opens at Heavenly Village | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Outdoor rink opens at Heavenly Village

Susan Wood
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Training for the novice men's ice skating nationals, Bobby Tyrrell, 15, of South Lake Tahoe performs a triple toe loop jump at the Heavenly Village Ice Rink Thursday afternoon.

Opening an ice rink can be a slippery business.

The Heavenly Village Ice Rink opened last Friday with 400 ice skaters but some challenges, too.

After waiting for electrical panels but opening on a generator, the ice rink was forced to close Saturday and Sunday because of Mother Nature’s heavy surprise. Tahoe received 1 foot of fresh snow at lake level, prompting co-owner Gilley Nicholson to roll up his shirt sleeves and start shoveling. He said it took him 18 hours to remove snow from the 120-x-65-foot rink off Heavenly Village Way.

“We were out there nonstop. We were caught by surprise,” Nicholson said, adding that his industrial-sized snowblower is due in this week.

Nicholson had two to three miles of pipes laid to keep the ice frozen at the rink, which costs skaters $10 for 90 minutes. The business, which rents skates on the premises, is now open from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. seven days a week.

Those who skate there have a few challenges of their own.

Bobby Tyrrell, the 15-year-old son of one of the owners, moved to South Lake Tahoe this week from Fremont to continue training with Nicholson, his longtime coach.

Tyrrell is headed to the U.S National Skate Championship next month to compete in the freestyle category.

He aspires to go to the 2010 Winter Games.

The teenager was out doing his routine on the ice Thursday, prompting stares from passersby.

“I’m just trying to work hard. It’s good to train on smaller ice rinks because it forces you to work on your jumps (in a confined space),” he said.

The teen splits his time between Tahoe’s indoor arena and the rink – when he’s not being home-schooled.

– Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at swood@tahoedailytribune.com

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