During public skate sessions at SJCH Ice Center of Bakersfield, a SMG managed facility, staffers give experienced skaters a wide berth, but stay on hand to assist novices with the basics, including lacing up their skates and getting back up after taking a tumble on the ice.
Instruction continues at the skating school, where students of all levels and ages can enhance their skating skills during private lessons or 12-person classes with 12 free public skating sessions and progress reports after their first month. The climate-controlled center—always kept at below 60 degrees—also hosts 14-week youth hockey seasons and three divisions of adult hockey league, which accommodate recreational to top-tier players.
Along with action on the rink, SJCH Ice Center of Bakersfield keeps its pro shop stocked with figure skating and hockey apparel. The in-house technicians can spruce up skates with repair and sharpening services. After hockey games or skating practice, guests can reenergize with pizza, popcorn, and hot chocolate from the Slap Shot snack bar, which entertains visitors with video games such as Super Mario Goes Ice Fishing.
For more than 50 years, wheels have rolled across the hardwood rink at the original Rollerama on 34th Street. People who learned how to skate there as children—or shared a first kiss at the rink's edge—can now bring their own children to make new memories. The sport itself seems as popular as ever, given the crowds that routinely show up to glide around on rented skates and leisurely practice their triple axels. Both of Rollerama's current locations offer plenty of open skate times, along with classic food options such as pizza and hot dogs.
Skateland Inc.'s smooth surfaces create the perfect venue for roller-skating and inline skating during birthday parties or public skate sessions. For those who want to take their skills to the next level, Skateland Inc. also hosts a roller-derby team and an artistic club, whose members can practice for skating shows and team dances.
The frosty rinks at Iceoplex have supported the arabesques of professional figure skaters and served as the backdrop in feature films. During public skating hours, though, anyone can stop by for a glide on the ice. Visitors can rent hockey or figure skates for the day, hold events in heated party rooms, or play games in the video arcade. Beginning skaters can attend skating school or take hockey lessons.
The rink at Channel Islands Ice Center is a space for public skating, a classroom for skating school, and a frozen venue for hockey and figure skating. A nonprofit organization operated by the Channel Islands Figure Skating Club and Channel Islands Riptide Hockey Club, the ice center has a stake in varied community endeavors. The center also hosts ballet, tap, and jazz classes designed to complement ice-skating skills and teach students how to evade a would-be attacker with a graceful plié and well-timed pirouette.
Former Olympic bronze medalist Lloyd Eisler oversees the LA Kings Valley Ice Center's day-to-day operations, which include public skating sessions, private lessons, and hockey leagues designed for youth, adult, and special-needs players. Thanks to extensive renovations in the fall of 2011, the facility now sports a sleek lobby with energy-efficient lighting. The two-rink facility hosts birthday parties and runs a well-stocked pro shop where you can get hockey sticks and helmets or sharpen your blades after skating across the parking lot.