LAYTON -- It might not look like swimming weather, but that has not stopped the die-hard swimmers or those looking to escape the winter weather.
Layton's Surf 'N Swim, nicknamed Utah's Year-round Ocean, sees a steady stream of swimmers even when water outside has turned into ice.
"We have most of our patronage in the summertime, but it's not that we're slacking in the winter," said Josh Dukes, Layton city's director of aquatics. "People have other things to do in the winter and don't think about going swimming when it's 20 degrees outside."
When the Surf 'N Swim opened in 1986, there was also the idea of having an inflatable dome to cover the pool. That way residents would not have to miss out on using the pool during the winter and the city could provide use of the pool for all 12 months.
"It's nice to be able to have the flexibility to be in a nice, indoor pool and still have the waves, and then in the summer take the bubble off and be an outdoor pool," Dukes said.
It takes a few days, and plenty of manpower, to get the bubble set up and secure. But the end result is worth it, Dukes said.
"I won't say it's easy," Dukes said. "It's not like changing the oil in your car."
Keeping the pool open has other benefits for the city, namely financially.
"Economically, it helps in the long run," said Mayor Steve Curtis. "We still need to subsidize the pool, but if it were closed you would see how dramatically different that subsidy would be. Financially, it's a smarter thing to do."
The bubble now covering the pool is not the original, thanks to a mighty east wind in the late 1990s that tore the structure beyond repair. But the city had insurance and quickly replaced the inflatable dome.
Activities during the winter are the same as the summer, with the open wave session, featuring a 2 1/2- to 3-foot wave periodically making its way through the pool, during evenings and all day on Saturday.
Dukes said that winter swimming is most popular with adult lap swimmers and high school teams looking to stay in shape.
Winter swimmers often tell pool workers how happy they are that they can still use the pool, and that appreciation is shared by everyone involved.
"It's a good feeling," Dukes said. "It makes us happy to know that we can service our patrons and provide that opportunity for them to work out and get a low- or no-impact opportunity to exercise year round."