With two NHL-size rinks, seating for 350, an on-site Italian restaurant, The Ice Ranch hosts myriad activities involving ice-skating and entertainment. The staff is experienced in teaching patrons how to excel in all manner of ice-centric sports, from hockey to curling to broomball. Besides competitive programs, the Ice Ranch hosts skate lessons, public-skating sessions, and Zam Camp, where attendees get to sit in the driver's seat of the Zamboni and test their theory to determine whether the machine is actually a transformer or not.
The sounds of slap shots and blades carving the ice resound through Big Bear Ice Arena as it sets the stage for visitors participating in hockey, figure skating, and a host of other games. Hockey programs for kids and adults follow the rules and regulations set forth by USA Hockey, which allows slap shots but not checking or doing burnouts in a Zamboni. When pucks aren't careening from board to board, figure skaters can glide out onto the ice for programs that range from a Learn to Skate class to competitive team events. Less competitive patrons, meanwhile, can log their time on the ice through games such as bandy and broomball or casual open skates.
A DSLR camera flashes repeatedly as a professional photographer captures a family's beaming smiles. The clients view their photos shortly thereafter, and in less than a minute the chosen shots emerge from studio-quality printers. Southlands Ventures Inc. hosts on-location photo shoots like these year-round, printing instant photos at weddings, senior proms, and even rodeos. During holiday seasons they set up at malls, where Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tax Day Elf have been known to pose with clients.
For those who dream of kicking back at a cozy log cabin as smoke puffs out of a stone fireplace and a crystal clear lake reflects the surrounding pines and mountains, the Evergreen Lake House is an ideal destination. The 5,000-square-foot building resides on 55 acres of park district land and hosts seasonal activities and events. An immense stone fireplace in the great room lends itself to wedding photos, while the lake lends itself to summertime activities, and safely testing how far a homemade catapult can fling you. Visitors navigate the placid waters on canoes and paddleboats or savor a sunrise during an early morning fishing trip. An observation boardwalk provides stunning views and a 1.3-mile trail offers safe passage to joggers, and bikers. When the lake freezes over in winter, skating season begins and the 1930s boat house becomes a place to warm up and debate whether Herbert Hoover invented the vacuum cleaner.
Families frequent Boulder Valley Ice to glide across their NHL-size rink, participate in beginner skating lessons, and get their hockey fix with adult and 3 versus 3 leagues. They also hit the ice to celebrate birthdays and events complete with add-ons such as cake, ice cream, and reserved tables adorned in balloons and confetti made from the lost teeth of pro hockey players.