Ice skating outside is a novelty in North Carolina

RALEIGH -- Triangle natives have adjusted to the habits and eccentricities of transplants from up north, even the bagels and New York pizza.

But ice skating in the fresh air? It sounds impossible, but this northern wintertime custom is taking hold in the Triangle.

Three outdoor skating rinks have recently opened, featuring both honest-to-goodness ice and the artificial kind. A beneath-the-ice chiller system keeps the ice from melting at the rink downtown, and sheets of synthetic, plastic ice have turned two shopping centers into skating destinations.

It's all a little more technologically advanced than the homemade rinks Don MacMillan skated on as a kid in Connecticut. MacMillan, the guy in charge of the ice at the RBC Center, said each winter the fire department would spray down a grassy area at his church so the kids could skate. Read this story on