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Good News-- More Ice Downtown This Winter

Katie Blackley
90.5 fm WESA
Paul Guggenheimer stands on the ice rink built around the PPG Place Christmas tree, which is now 28% larger

The temperature is starting to drop, Christmas music is playing on all the radio stations and mall Santas are popping up all over the place. The Christmas season has begun and in Pittsburgh that means it is time to go skating downtown. 

The PPG ice skating rink has been expanded for the 2015-2016 season. The rink now boasts a surface area of 12,000 square feet, an increase of 28%, making it able to accommodate 100 people at any given time. This places the rink at 2/3 the size of an NHL rink and 67% larger than the Rockefeller Center ice sheet.

The increase in size is not the only change the rink has undergone. According to Harry Datz, the rink’s manager, new energy efficient systems were added to keep the ice at the perfect temperature, as well as new dasher boards along the side of the circular rink.

“We’re running a more efficient system, so the quality of the ice is supreme on this ice rink,” Datz said. “We work hard to keep it at a very high level, to keep people coming back…”

While a popular tradition with Pittsburghers – hundreds step on the ice every day during the season, the PPG ice rink has also seen several celebrities skate across its surface over its 14 years of operation. They range from local heroes like Mario Lemiux and other Penguin players, to a visit from Tom Cruise. However, Datz says the feeling he gets from seeing everyday people skate on the rink is what keeps him coming back again and again.

“Every year on Light Up Night, when they illuminate that tree, it warms my heart and it kicks off my season and I’m just rip, roaring and ready to go for an awesome holiday time.”

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