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Illustration for article titled Whatever Happened To Roller Skating?

Over at the Atlantic Tanya Basu asks: Whatever Happened to Roller Skating?

Last week, among the glittery monoliths that line the Reno and Las Vegas strips, a rather old-fashioned, decidedly not-glitzy industry met to discuss the future of four wheels.

No, not those four wheels.

The Roller Skating Association Convention and Trade Show congregated to discuss all things roller skating—derbies, rinks, and the skates themselves.

Which made me wonder: What happened to roller-skating rinks anyway?

Roller skating may seem kind of retro, but it isn't a thing of the past, says Jim McMahon, executive director of the Indianapolis-based Roller Skating Association International. In fact, rinks are thriving—just not where you'd expect.

"It's not a declining industry," McMahon said. "We have gotten 15 brand new skating rinks all over the country over the past 14 months."

Which isn't to say that building a roller-skating rink is a guaranteed windfall. After all, rinks tend to be large—and costly—investments.

"Real estate tax increases and the increasing cost of utilities have really hurt roller skating rinks," McMahon said, adding that it's tough for rinks to just hike up prices to cover the taxes: "If the price goes up to go to a roller skating rink, people stop going."

[Photo Via: Style-by-Ro]

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