Inliner’s First Night at U.S. Bank Stadium

The first night in Ziggy’s Playland on inline skates went better than most had anticipated.  Yes, there are pillars in bad places and blind corners that severely limit speed, but it wasn’t all bad.

Tuesday night at U.S. Bank Stadium I spoke with the guy in charge about future plans for rollerblading.  They intend to add dates.  More importantly they also plan to provide a separate skate time for speedskating.  He said future skating sessions could be “family” skates from 5-8, and then speedskating from 8-9.  The skating surface was slippery.

I was wearing Matter Code Reds and would slip if I tried to push to far to the side.   The 1/2 inch rubber expansion joints (discussed here) have been replaced with metal expansion joints.  Skating over them is very loud, but isn’t severely detrimental to skating and is comparable to typical trail impediments. The noise does help to alert skaters to others in their presence.
There were quite a few people there, but a lap is substantially longer than the Dome, so typically people are spread out. They had runners upstairs. I didn’t get a chance to go upstairs and see what that looked like. We will have to do that next time.  Security was not as intense as I had been led to believe it would be. They had ladies holding foot long wooden dowels and they required that bags be opened and then they poked their stick in the bag to move things around. No pat-down, no metal detectors. Plenty of seating. Just like the Dome they only opened one bathroom (no trough), and I noticed fewer water fountains than the Dome (they want game attendees buying $12 beers not sipping water). There is no skate rental – the advantage of that is skaters are at least experienced enough they have invested in their own skates. There were fewer horrendous skaters, many familiar faces throughout the night, but plenty of new faces. It was great to see so many “Dome People”.

That was the good – now the bad:

Event Organizers: rather than Connie/Chett/Wolf and the gang of inliners running the show, it appears stadium staff is in charge. There were NO announcements over the loud speakers about slower skaters staying to the right, there were no announcements, there were no warnings to slow down, no warnings against pacelines, no one yelling at people to not walk from the seating area across the track to look into the stadium bowl, no skate monitors to police behavior at all.  I have had a couple of skaters tell me there were a couple of skating employees attempting to have some control, but I didn’t see them.

Twice I came around the first corner, which is fairly blind, and skaters were coming at me going the wrong way. They had over skated the seating area and rather than making another lap, they turned around. If they don’t know better and no one is there to prevent it then someone is going to get hurt. There are places that are blind and narrow. If you had a head of steam going and came through those areas and there was traffic or a skater down you have very few options due to the pillars.

The general consensus from other skaters seemed to be that it wasn’t what we were used to, but that it was better than nothing, and generally better than expected. Melissa and I had a good time doing technique work and being substantially warmer than we would have been if we had gone to the rink in Roseville. Adam Bradley made a great point about how much lower the temperature in USB is than the Dome. He pointed out they had to keep the Dome hot to melt the snow on the roof – they don’t have to do that with a bird killing glass roof. Dress warmer than usual. Ultimately, I remain a critic of the public funding of private enterprise, a critic of the stadium/Vikings/Wilfs/etc., but as the night wore on and the crowd thinned I did get about 15 minutes of track essentially to myself to skate. It was my first time in those boots since the crash in June. I am still dealing with ankle pain/discomfort particularly on one side, but for awhile that wasn’t on my mind and I was just skating. You can’t relax as much as you could at the Dome as the track is an odd shape with crossovers in strange places and a few short straightaways with blind turns. Despite that I managed to find some rhythm and remember some faster days.  I can’t envision a marathon, or paceline skating.  It isn’t the Dome, but it will have to do.

  • Beginner’s Guide to Inline/Rollerblading
  • Inline Race Schedule
  • Where to Buy Inline Skates & Inline Gear Locally
  • Inline Photo Gallery
  • Try Ice Speedskating
  • US Bank Stadium indoor running and rollerblading dates (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.)

    • December 13, 20, 27
    • January 3, 17, 18, 31
    • February 3, 6, 21, 23, 27
    • March 1, 6, 9, 13

    Etiquette Reminders

    • Slower Skaters Stay To the Right
    • Alert Other Skaters To Obstacles
    • Pass ONLY on the left
    • Announce “Passing” or “On Your Left” when approaching slower skaters
    • Be Aware of Others Around you
    • Wear A Damn Helmet – it ought to be required
    • Wear wrist guards
    • Skate only Counterclockwise
    • Do not walk across the track to look into the lower bowl when other skaters are present
    • Pay attention when leaving the seating area – do not walk in front of skaters
    • No backpacks while skating
    • No headphones while skating
    • No cell phones while skating
    • Stay Out of the way of the Skater In Shoulder Pads