Local teacher brings winter fun to backyard

Nicole Aimone, Editor-in-Chief

Bryan Quigley and his son Elijah Quigley skate in Sunday’s snowing weather on the family’s backyard ice rink.
(Photos by Nicole Aimone, Editor-in-Chief)

The swishing and icy-slashing sounds you’ve been hearing over near Hoxie Street in Spring Green just might be the sound of skates gliding over the ice as the Quigley family enjoys their homemade labor of love—a backyard ice rink.

River Valley High School history teacher Bryan Quigley, his wife Megan, son Elijah and daughter Lilian take to the ice just about every night to enjoy a skate or a pick-up game of hockey on the 20 X 80 foot homemade ice rink.

The family’s dog Finley often joins, running back and forth on the sidelines, following the family’s laps around the ice.

Lilian Quigley skates up and down the Quigley family’s ice rink, as their dog, Finley, follows after her.

“It’s really just about getting the kids out,” said Bryan. “We’re just trying to get them skating and having fun. We just pop out and get a short skate or a long skate in, it’s a good way for me to let some steam out.”

Elijah Quigley spins around on the family’s homemade, outdoor ice rink.

The family said they often invited friends and family over to enjoy the rink as well, with this past weekend being their busiest social event as the weather finally returned to “normal” winter temperatures after a blast of cold weather the past couple weeks.

Bryan said the rink is a great way to socialize, especially during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic because it provides an easily socially-distanced and outdoor location.

“It’s kind of the perfect COVID thing, so I guess if silver linings can be found in such a thing,” said Bryan.

Four years ago Bryan ordered a 20 X 40 foot DIY ice rink kit off the internet, and has built the rink up to almost double the size. The family has slowly grown the atmosphere of the outdoor rink as well, adding a string of lights above the rink to provide cozy illumination and a small fire pit to warm cold hands and feet near.

Bryan Quigley, left, and his son, Elijah stoke up the fi re that is next to their ice rink.

Each year, Bryan starts the days-long process of constructing and filling the ice rink as soon as the ground has a chance to freeze, so the stakes holding the structure together can be solidly placed in the ground. He then fills the structure with water, which freezes to give about five to six inches of ice.

As he has continued the process of building a rink each year, Bryan said he has learned a lot about the area, and the potential desire of residents to have a community skating rink in Spring Green. “I think there’s an appetite, it’s a small town, people are looking for things to do,” said Byran. “Anything you can do to get fresh air, I think we could find financial avenues to support it and maintenance.”

Bryan Quigley uses a large shovel to remove snow from the ice rink as his wife Megan, daughter Lilian and son Elijah shoot across the ice.

Bryan said he learned Spring Green used to be host to an ice rink in South Park, about 10 to 15 years ago. Currently, the closest outdoor winter ice rink near the area is in Richland Center, where visitors can rent skates and hockey equipment.

There are indoor ice rinks in Dodgeville and Prairie du Sac.

Elijah Quigley, left, Lilian Quigley, center, and Megan Quigley, right, go for a skate in the snowing weather on Sunday.