I'm sure that many of us have fond childhood memories of skating outdoors with our friends. My buddies and I frequently skated at one of several local lakes on cold winter Saturday afternoons. The ice was relatively flat and clean, and we had a blast whipping around, trying to look graceful and keeping up with each other. It seemed that the east side of the lake was always packed with kids playing pick-up hockey, while the west side of the lake was filled with the rest of us who wore figure skates.
Maybe there's something to the global warming concept, as we haven't had much smooth, skateable ice in a number of years. A few years ago one of the larger lakes in this area was frozen solid, and the ENTIRE lake was packed with families, kids, and adults. There must have been 500 people on the lake.
What a nice sight, and what a nice memory it evoked.
Back in the "good old days", the major figure skating championships were held outdoors. Those champions really had to content with the elements - the cold, wind, snow, rain, and uneven patches of ice. And yet, they turned in so many wonderful, memorable performances.