A quartet of regulation-size NHL ice rinks live inside Ice House. There, attentive zambonies smooth things over for hockey players, figure skaters, and recreational skaters. Youngsters, high schoolers, and adults can each sign up for amateur hockey leagues, and anyone can learn to turn, stop, and avoid flying flower bouquets in U.S. Figure Skating Association-sanctioned programs. If they stick with it, students may be able to follow in the blade-steps of Olympic gold medalists Tara Lipinski, Oksana Baiul, and Sarah Hughes?each of whom used the Ice House as their primary training facility.
As a state-of-the-art indoor pond, Floyd Hall Arena provides ice so smooth and true that even the Zamboni drivers can't help but purposefully get their tongues stuck to it. After strapping on their skates, all ages and skill levels can practice figural flow, hone their hockey stopping, and improve their foot-cursive penmanship. For the especially graceful, the facility also rents Olympic-quality walkers ($3, not included in this Groupon) that turn any avalanching ice princess into an upright frozen duchess. Since opening in 1998, the arena has hosted more than a dozen NHL teams and countless quantities of avid skaters young and old.
At Winter Garden Ice Arena, families slice ice during public skate sessions or slap pucks into goals during adult or youth hockey leagues. There are also figure-skating programs, and the center’s icy confines and private party room make ideal meeting grounds for children’s birthday parties.
The coaches at Westchester Skating Academy have trained internationally competitive and Olympic-level skaters. But even if skaters are just starting out, these coaches still devote significant attention to teaching them how to glide across the ice with confidence—whether it's for fun or competition. In this NHL twin rink facility, hockey players also hone their skills with lessons as well as competitive leagues. While waiting for open skate to start, skaters munch on snacks at Center Ice Grill, which saves them the trouble of collecting shavings from the rink to make snow cones.
As part of the Chelsea Piers Sports & Entertainment Complex, located at the historic Chelsea Piers, the Golf Club perches over the same port that once welcomed ships into New York City. Now, golfers tee up in the driving range's 52 heated and weather-protected stalls, which overlook the glinting waters of the Hudson River. Automatic tee-up systems position balls for launch across the 200-yard, net-enclosed fairway. A putting green allows patrons to improve their short game, and two Full Swing simulators encourage them to take hacks in virtual environs, transporting them to famous courses across the country or fifth-grade birthday parties where they missed the pi?ata.
Children and adults alike can enlist in Golf Club at Chelsea Piers? classes, which stratify students by experience level. The 12-member coaching staff includes PGA and LPGA professionals, and sessions take place in a 2,000-square-foot teaching facility.
As they sweep the ice, most gas-powered zambonis also give off harmful carbon monoxide, which lingers in the rink for hours afterwards. But Skylands Ice World?s resurfacers are different?they?re fueled by propane, which means that, with the help of special converters and frequent tune-ups, they emit much lower levels of carbon monoxide. And to make them even more eco- and skater-friendly, the zambonis warm up in a separate, ventilated room before hitting the ice, which also helps carbon-dioxide levels in the rink stay well below EPA-approved standards. It might seem odd to put so much thought into the environmental and health effects of ice upkeep, especially since the state of New Jersey doesn?t technically regulate the air quality of skating rinks, but Skylands Ice World and its staff considers it worthwhile. Because in the end, a devotion to Mother Earth and its inhabitants is just as important as a devotion to sport and spectacle, which is also why the facility has recently installed an energy-saving, low-emissivity ceiling as well as high-efficiency light fixtures.
Knowing that the air and their consciences are cleaner than a personal trainer?s bill of health, visiting skaters can go for a care-free spin around the ice during daily public-skating sessions. Visitors can also groove to toe-pick-tapping music, which blasts out of a newly installed sound system during the popular Friday night Ice Jam event. And when they need a break from the figure eights and figure zeros, skaters can hop over to the onsite eatery, which dispenses Tim Hortons coffee and baked goods.