Outdoor skating in sunny California — how does that work?
I went to San Francisco’s Embarcadero rink last week, to check it out. For years I had heard friends talk about it, but I was skeptical, having grown up in Wisconsin where freezing temperatures were always part of the package.
Ice skating in San Francisco includes mild temperatures, sunshine, and palm trees. The rink is portable, installed every November for the holiday season. Aluminum segments measuring 3×30 feet are assembled, accompanied by tents offering skate rentals and storage lockers.
There is a company who specializes in temporary outdoor skating rinks, they service cities around the world. Then sometime after New Years Day it all comes down until next November.
For $11 per person, it offers excitement, exercise, and a few wobbles and tumbles at no extra charge.
It so popular that skaters have to make reservations, are committed to a timed session. Music is pumped in and a Zamboni smoothes the ice in between sessions.
In Wisconsin, we skated on huge expanses of frozen lakes and ponds; and quickly figured out where the smoothest ice was. Every winter my father also rolled out plastic sheets and transformed our dormant vegetable garden into the neighborhood ice rink.
So to me the outdoor rinks in California seem odd; but the Zamboni, after all, was invented in California.
The ice-smoothing machine was invented in the Los Angeles area by two brothers and their cousin, the Zambonis, in 1940. They used the Ford Model A as a prototype.
Ice melts in warm weather, but the magical Zamboni comes along and scrapes the chips and fills in the gaps. It’s a real science, making ice, read about it here.
Personally, I had enough of cold weather to last me a lifetime. It was fun as a kid, but then I grew up; drove my first car across an ice patch into a concrete wall, lost a million mittens, and was always freezing. So when I got old enough, I moved to California.
Still, the snow is pristine and hushing, and creates some of the most lovely vistas. I still find it beautiful to look at.
I like to watch the ice skaters circling the rink, I like to look at beautiful photos of snow, and I like traveling to the tropics. It’s a wonderful world, having these options.
Photo credit: Athena Alexander unless otherwise specified
Here are a few places I go for beautiful snow adventures:
adventure69degreesnorth.com – Inger and Tor ski Banff, Canada
alittlebitoutoffocus.com – Mike lives in the Alps
madlyinlovewithlife.com – Jeannie delights in Alberta, Canada
oldplaidcamper.com – Plaidcamper often hikes in wintry Canada wilderness
port4u.net – Sherry captures the beauty in NYC
traveltalesoflife.com – Sue cross-country skis in Canada