On their first day back at school after the holidays, Hannah Schulte, left, and Hannah Nygard, students at the nearby St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, laced up some skates during a noon-hour break on a sunny Monday. The Wells Fargo WinterSkate rink next to the Landmark Center in downtown St. Paul is offering free, outdoor public skating through Feb. 7, with skate rental available for $4. Note that the long shadows of winter are already starting to give way, with our days now about eight minutes longer than at the time of the winter solstice on Dec. 21.