SAN RAMON, Calif.—The seasonal Kristi Yamaguchi Holiday Ice Rink held its opening ceremony on Nov. 17 this year with special ice-skating performances.
The outdoor rink, located at City Center Bishop Ranch in San Ramon, California, was canceled last year due to the pandemic. This year, people told NTD Television they are glad to be back and skating again in time for the holidays.
“You’re going to fall a little bit, but that’s all part of learning. It’s fun,” said Eileen Vales, from Dublin, California.
“I like skating. I haven’t skated in a long time,” Vales’s daughter said.
“We love San Ramon. We thought, why not ride our bike down the street and go ice skating? How cool is that?” said Brooke Barnum, from San Ramon.
“This is our first time being here,” said Sherille Sawyer, from Pleasanton.
“It might be like when I started riding my bike without training wheels, because you have to balance it,” said her daughter Aurora.
Yamaguchi’s Always Dream Foundation also celebrated its 25th anniversary. The organization is dedicated to ensuring that “children from low‑income families have access to high‑quality books in the home environment and extensive family engagement support,” its website states.
“If we can really help families create a consistent reading routine at home, all we’re asking is like 15 minutes a day, 3–5 times a week, and that will make a huge difference in their academic success,” said Kristi Yamaguchi, 1992 Olympic Champion figure skater.
The ‘92 Olympics gold medalist said a portion of the proceeds from the ice rink will go toward the Always Dream Foundation.
“I think it’s a great way to bring people together during this Christmas season, and you know, everyone loves to figure skate during the holidays, and it’s fun to put on a show,” said 17-year-old Sophie Peters, a competitive figure skater. “I think it’s so fun to be able to jump in the air and twirl, and it’s so fun to achieve new skills.”
“Every time I walk into the ice … I feel like this is my home. And walking into this ice, it’s sort of like a freshness of home. So I really love skating,” said 13-year-old competitive figure skater Anaya Doshi.
“I just love the sport because I think it’s like my home, basically. I just feel at comfort and I just love skating,” said 12-year-old competitive figure skater Renha Kim.
“I also get super nervous, so I usually don’t look directly at anyone. I just kind of look at the empty seat,” said 12-year-old competitive figure skater Bridget Gervase.
Yamaguchi gave some expert advice, such as wearing a size smaller when choosing ice skates to have that snug support.
“And make sure they’re laced up nice and tight so once you get on the ice you can kind of start marching in place, and then pretty soon, once you’re comfortable with that sliding motion, you can start gliding a little more,” Yamaguchi said.
Ice rink hours are from noon to 9:30 p.m. daily, rain or shine, although it may close in heavy rain. Reservations are highly recommended. Tickets are purchased in 90-minute sessions.
The ice rink will remain open until Jan. 2.
An opening celebration at Kristi Yamaguchi Downtown Ice in San Jose is planned for Nov. 22.