Bitter Decisions by Schools Caused by Lack of Snow
With the abnormally low snowfall within the abnormally warm winter, “Smile Skate Happi-Rink”, a skating rink installed at Happiterrace in Fukui Prefecture’s Fukui City, has been experiencing an increase in group rink rentals. The lack of snow is seen a cause for the increase in ski lesson cancellations by different groups, including schools.
On weekdays, between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., groups can rent and enjoy Happi-Rink at 90 minute intervals. According to the Fukui Town Management Organization, a Fukui City community sector group, which manages the skating rink, there has been 18 reservations (totalling to 567 people) for rink rentals by January 27th for the current season. This has already surpassed last season’s record of 11 reservations (totalling to 315 people) by a substantial margin.
At the Mitani-kan Center for Early Childhood Education and Care (located in Fukui City), ski lessons were planned for the older children on February 6th, at Imajo 365 Ski Resort (located in Fukui Prefecture, Minamiechizen Town). However, taking the lack of snow and safety concerns into consideration, the children instead went skating at Happi-Rink on January 27th.
“We wanted the children to experience skiing, but unfortunately, we weren’t blessed with snowfall. We are hoping for more snow next year,” said the Mitani-kan principal.
Sakai City Hyogo Elementary School planned to hold ski lessons during February at Ski Jam Katsuyama (located in Fukui Prefecture, Katsuyama City), but worried from the lack of snow, made reservations for the Happi-Rink. Originally, the Karigahara ski area (located within Ski Jam Katsuyama) was the intended venue, but due to less snow, the ski area had to abandon plans to open for business, resulting in the school changing its venue.
“It’s not the first time we’ve had to change venues, but it’s a first to make reservations for skating,” said the Hyogo Elementary School principal. From here on, there will be a decision whether to ski or to skate.
“This warm weather will probably continue. We anticipate more groups, such as schools, to rent and use the rink; I will bring forth more effort into this project,” said a Fukui Town Management Organization associate.
Happi-Rink will operate until February 11th. Rink rentals were until the 6th.