Thompson's Point in Portland ready to slide into winter

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PORTLAND — Thompson’s Point has become a destination synonymous with craft beer, summer concerts and ice skating.

Now, the evolving development is adding a new winter activity: tubing – on a two-story, man-made hill. The structure is being dubbed The Hill, to go along with The Rink at Thompson’s Point.

Thompson’s Point co-owner Chris Thompson said the idea for The Hill came from conversations with his partners on The Rink, Naples-based IceOps, which helped build The Hill and wanted to expand winter offerings. IceOps also sponsors Frozen Fenway, the two-week-long series of activities that includes college ice hockey games and public ice skating at Fenway Park in Boston.  

“It was their suggestion arising from a great partnership,” Thompson said.

Thompson is aiming for the five-lane tubing slide to open Dec. 1. He said the slide utilizes the same chilling technology as The Rink, so it doesn’t require snow.

“So even if we have a warm day, we can keep ice on The Hill,” Thompson said. “We can create winter down there all season long.”

Now entering its second season, the ice skating rink has been increased in size by about 20 percent, to about 10,000 square feet, Thompson said. The Rink opened Nov. 11, and will be accessible until Feb. 5, 2017. The Hill, which will be available when The Rink is open, will also close for the season Feb. 5.  Thompson said there are more food and beverage options at The Rink as well this year, including Makers Mug coffee and Fahrenheit 225 barbecue.

“This allows a much greater breadth of entertainment offerings down there,” Thompson said.

Molly Breton, the rink manager, said they wanted to do something different this year, and also wanted to make a hill because there wasn’t anything like it around.

“We just wanted to bring something different to Portland,” she said.

Breton said the hope is The Hill will make more people want to get outside this winter. She said for safety reasons, children under 3 feet tall won’t be allowed to go down the hill. But she said the company may create a smaller hill with snow for children.

Thompson also noted this is the first year there will be several food and beverage establishments nearby: Bissell Brothers Brewing, Stroudwater Distillery, Cellardoor Winery, and Big J’s Chicken Shack are all open at Thompson’s Point. Bissell will again serve beer in an adjacent yurt, and bar and food services will be open Thursdays through Sundays.

“We’re really excited about the progress and the energy,” Thompson said. All the partners and tenants are invested in “making these things a series of successes.”

Rates for skating and tubing are available online, but a single tube ride will cost $3, while a day pass for unlimited skating and tubing will be $18.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

The Hill, a two-story, five-lane tubing attraction, is slated to open the first week of December at Thompson’s Point in Portland, where ice skating opened for the season on Nov. 11.

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Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.