I grew up in Minneapolis, in the ’40s and ’50s, three blocks from a rink, but didn’t skate until age 10. When we moved to Princeton for grad school (Ph.D., chemistry) we brought our skates without much hope of skating. One winter in the mid ’60s, the lake froze clear with no snow. I took my skates to campus, and at lunch walked down to the lake from Old Frick Lab, put on my skates at the Boathouse, and started skating. I’ve never been a good skater, with difficulty turning — and then only to the left. So the possibility of skating in a straight line for a long time was attractive. I skated two miles to within 200 or 300 yards of the dam where the ice looked less safe and returned. I was the only one skating and experienced that wonderful feeling of freedom on skates, and going straight, no necessity to turn (and then the let-down and grounding when you take the skates off). Wonderful experience, never duplicated.
In Response to: A Princeton Pastime Declines as Temperatures Rise