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Ice Rink At Sculpture Garden Opens

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John Connor, manager at the Sculpture Garden ice rink, takes extra time to prepare the ice on Friday morning.
Markette Smith
John Connor, manager at the Sculpture Garden ice rink, takes extra time to prepare the ice on Friday morning.

The ice rink at the National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden opens Saturday on the National Mall. And this year, skaters will find the ice a little smoother than in years past. There’s a new ice machine in town, and it’s bringing the promise of fresher, smoother ice at the Sculpture Garden’s rink this year.

"It’s an official Zamboni. Everything else is just an ice resurfacer," says Jon Connor, the rink's general manager.

His last machine was 25-years-old, but the new one -- a brand that’s been used in the Winter Olympics -- is fully automated, making it easier for him to get the ice rink to the optimal standard of about three quarters of an inch thick.

"Obviously you don’t want to go too thin, because there’s concrete underneath and you don’t want steel meeting concrete," says Connor.

The rink is open daily through March and about 50,000 skaters are expected to grace the rink.

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