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.
Tucked amid the shadows of eucalyptus trees and mexican palms, Buena Vista Golf Course roams across 6,710 yards of dramatically undulating terrain. Throughout the par-72 layout, golfers grapple with uneven lies wrought by the hilly topography, as well as large, contoured greens that require a soft touch with the putter. As players make their way from tee to green, hillcrests offer glimpses of the surrounding farmland, the two lakes that comprise Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Center, and distant mountains as they ripple out into the horizon and hide the unsightly edge of the earth. Guests looking to polish their game can consult Buena Vista's two PGA Class A professionals, who offer private lessons and club-fitting services.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par-72 course
Total length of 6,710 yards from the back tees
Course rating of 72.9 from the back tees
Slope rating of 124 from the back tees
Four sets of tees per hole
Backed by a landscape of rolling green hills, paintballers navigate a maze of trenches, only peering above ground with their be-goggled eyes for a careful survey. With 14 battlefields to choose from, paintballing combatants test their mettle while fostering team-building and strategization skills. Players fire off rounds from Tippmann or Kingman air guns while ducking behind rusted, paint-splattered oil drums, stacks of large tires, or the big yellow dump truck left behind by Godzilla's toddler. Each battleground presents a different challenge—the turf airball course is populated by inflatable obstacles, and the woodsball field forces teams to traverse forested grounds made hazardous by wetlands and overgrowth. After a grueling match, players can take refuge in the shaded picnic areas to rest, refuel, or brush up on Sun Tzu's lesser-known text, The War of Art.
In 1962, the Richards family began a surfing expedition, outfitting explorers of the Pacific waves under the banner of Val Surf. The shop has remained a family-owned haven of board-sports gear and apparel ever since, boasting bragging rights as the first-ever dealer of Quiksilver products and a partner with Burton Snowboards from its inception in 1977. Like beavers with master's degrees in woodworking, the staff?s passion is its profession, with surf-, snow-, and skate-enthusiast employees ready to match guests with proven brand-name gear from Volcom and Billabong or lesser-known offerings from up-and-comers such as Fourstar Clothing and RVCA.
The NAUI-certified instructors at Ye Ol’ Dive Shop of Simi Valley impart all the skills and training necessary to safely tread below the surface of the sea. Discovery lessons lend an introductory exploration into scuba equipment and diving techniques before students embark on a supervised session within the unexplored depths of a swimming pool. For a more complete discovery of their inner fishes, initiates wade into the Complete Diver Workshop; in this course, extensive review of equipment and safe practices precedes five sessions of open-water training, wherein acquired techniques are pitted against the rigors of currents and high-tech fishing lures. Course fulfillment results in the procurement of a NAUI Scuba Diver certification card as well as CPR and first-aid certification.
At So Cal Hitting Zone, former pro baseball players oversee a 7,000-square-foot training facility equipped with professional batting cages. Owner Will Skett and fellow coach Casey Snow—who played AA ball for the Toronto Blue Jays and at the AAA level for the Los Angeles Dodgers, respectively—lead custom training programs for players of all ages, specializing in hitting, fielding, pitching, and strength and speed training. In the batting cages, Iron Mike pitching machines hurl fastballs, curveballs, and sliders, and the pro shop stocks professional equipment from brands such as Mizuno, Easton, and Rawlings.