Roll With It
story: Cody Kirch photos: Jesse Rosten
35 YEARS OF FUN AT VIKING SKATE COUNTRY
You remember the feeling. The wind hitting your adolescent face as you zoomed effortlessly around the smooth oval roller rink. Kaleidoscopic disco lights piercing the darkness, reflecting off the walls and ceiling, while ‘70s music pumped at full volume from the speakers suspended above your indoor skating sanctuary. You were in a virtual roller-skating paradise.
Whether the last time you laced up a pair of skates was yesterday or several decades ago, Viking Skate Country in Redding offers this nostalgic slice of paradise right here in the North State. Located across from the Convention Center, the 20,000-square-foot complex has been a roller-skating and local community fixture for three decades.
Immediately after entering the double glass doors, a back wall is covered in countless thank-you notes scrawled in marker or crayon from various children. Viking Skate Country owners Maurice and Marianne Johannessen take pride in opening their roller rink to local schools, churches and clubs.
“You have to support your community…we have a lot of customers who have come in here since they were a kid,” says Marianne Johannessen.
Since the rink’s inception in 1974, the Johannessens have provided family-friendly, public skate sessions in a comfortable climate-controlled environment. They strive to provide a place where parents can confidently drop off their children, knowing that they were leaving them in a healthy, supervised environment.
“We used to call ourselves the cheapest babysitter in town,” says Marianne.
Activities keep the sessions lively and entertaining. Viking Skate staff members officiate organized games such as limbo, red light green light, four corners and bird dance games in which skaters have the chance to win free drinks from the snack bar or free general admission passes.
“It’s a lot of fun for all ages,” says Marianne.
Each skating session also features broad styles of music, ranging from country to rock to hip hop. Typical skating sessions include elaborate and dazzling light shows, perfectly synchronized to the beats of music from various genres.
“We are very circumspect about what (type of music) we play,” says Marianne. “Edited songs are used if need be.”
Besides the competition-sized roller rink, Viking Skate also features a full-service snack bar, DJ booth, foosball tables, air hockey tables and a video game arcade. Free cubbyholes are available for shoe storage, and lockers rent for a quarter. Three party rooms that can accommodate up to 20 people for birthday parties or other private events.
Viking Skate has devoted countless years to providing wholesome and family-friendly entertainment for the community. Marianne’s eyes twinkled as she shared the secret of Viking Skate Country’s success over the years.
“If you concentrate on the kids having a good time, that’s what counts,” she says.
Viking Skate Country 735 Auditorium Drive, Redding (530) 246-3900