Skate blades cut through the frozen surface, churning up flecks of ice at Richmond Ice Zone, a rink that hosts a slate of ice activities, including youth and adult hockey leagues, as well as figure-skating and beginner-skating lessons. The rink also opens its doors for skaters of all stripes to practice basic turns, graceful pirouettes, and simple quadruple axels into round-off back handsprings during public-skate sessions. Patrons can duck off the ice for bottomless popcorn during birthday parties, which allow guests to toast festive occasions from party tables.
Like Superman's secret North Pole fortress, SkateNation Plus brings the excitement with lasers, arcade games, and 17,000 square feet of glassy ice worth gliding upon. Its regulation NHL–size rink serves as a venue for public skating sessions, in addition to figure-skating lessons, hockey games, and ice-dancing performances. More than 40 games in its onsite arcade whir with a flurry of tickets, and a full spectrum of prizes awaits quick-handed winners at the redemption counter. During laser-tag sessions, the Lasertron computer spontaneously upgrades players with such power-ups as "energizer" or "force field," which protects against enemy blasts more effectively than a lead vest or full-length mirror.
Ice skaters of all stripes can find a home at Hampton Roads IcePlex. For budding figure skaters, the instructors offer lessons at 10 different levels. Beginners learn basic pivots and spins, and as skaters reach competitive levels, they cover double-axels, Arabian cartwheels, and turning ice into gold. Hockey players can also improve their skills at the complex?instructors lead leagues and workshops, which eschew figure skating's acrobatics and emphasize skating with speed and control. Even toddlers have a place at the rink?kids as young as 4 can take intro lessons that cover fundamentals such as falling safely. And those who want to just skate for fun can lace up rental blades during public skate sessions.
Open year round, Capital Clubhouse is an all-ages, 90,000-square-foot facility wholly dedicated to sports and recreation. The multisport arena can easily transform into a soccer, volleyball, dodge-ball, or inline-hockey court, allowing it to host all manner of team-based events from intramural games to kids' parties. Dasher boards that spent their youth exchanging quick embraces with Washington Capitals players at the former US Airways Arena now comfortably surround Capital Clubhouse's NHL-sized ice arena, which is kept cold year round thanks to 11 miles of underground cooling pipe and a steady diet of popsicles. When not supervising skaters from the comfort of the heated balcony, guests can race lithe mountain goats to the top of the center's 30-foot rock-climbing wall, where five different routes offer challenges for wall walkers of all ages and experience levels.
Home to concerts, movies, and chili cook-offs throughout the warmer months, The Harris Pavilion keeps the fun going all winter long as it transforms into an outdoor ice rink. Starting in mid-November, the rink welcomes the community for daily public-skate sessions; its close proximity to the Historic Manassas Train Station provides easy access to both out-of-towners and zambonis on the run. Lighting and music ensure a safe, lively atmosphere for skaters all ages, and a two-minute walk in any direction yields a host of shopping and snacking options for skaters who need a break or a brief warm-up.
Chilled Ponds Ice & Turf Sports Complex features an NHL-style skating rink where both expert skaters and ice-taming pupils can practice their gliding skills. Casual ice-cutters get admission to a public skate (regularly valued at $10 for adults and $8 for children 7 and younger) and skate rental, a chilled way to avoid the sun's scorching summer dominion without resorting to amphibian tactics of public bathing. Ice-commanders should check the schedule before arriving to ensure they're attending a public skate time. As this $5 option has no purchase limit, round up a Bolivian hockey team's worth of skaters, spend a few hours bladin' with friends, and watch Dennis Quaid begin his new figure-skating career by taking a slap-shot and scoring with today's Groupon.