- Associated Press - Thursday, December 24, 2015

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (AP) - The El Nino weather pattern that has much of the country basking in unseasonable temperatures has forced some fancy footwork for outdoor skating rink operators.

So much so that in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, city parks officials kicked off a series of “El Nino Open Skate” events Thursday where indoor rinks will be free at designated times over the next few weeks instead of the normal $3 charge. The city typically has up to nine outdoor rinks but the warm weather has made it impossible for them to freeze over.

The city superintendent of recreation, Dawn Comte, says the outdoor rinks probably won’t be in usable shape until mid-January.

The lack of snow has meant city sledding hills haven’t opened either. A coating expected over the weekend could solve that dilemma.

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