The popularity of ice skating in Southern California is yet another reminder that local residents are a mixed bag of transplants from many other, colder, places.
And with the arrival of Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday season, many who came from the Midwest or the East yearn to attach blunt-edged steel blades to the bottoms of their feet and glide along a flat, slippery sheet of ice.
Those who feel they must have snow or at least a colder climate to get into the spirit of the holidays head for the San Bernardino Mountains. The Blue Jay Ice Castle, one mile west of Lake Arrowhead Village on County 189 is less than 3 years old and is set among the pines with three sides open to the view. Admission is $3.25 for adults; $3 for ages 13 through 17 and $2.75 for ages 12 and under. Skate rentals are $1.50. Public skating sessions are everyday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3-5 p.m.
Evening sessions are Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday 7-9 p.m. and Friday 7-10 p.m. There's a moonlight special each Saturday 9:30-11:30 p.m. An ice-dance session with 30-minutes of instruction is scheduled Saturdays 5:15 -6:45 p.m. for $3. The rink has facilities for birthday parties, and group and private lessons are offered.
But for those who can't get to the mountains, there are a number of icy oases in the sunny Southland, where one can enjoy public skating, take lessons, join a skating club or play hockey. These make-believe winter wonderlands include:
West Covina Ice Arena, 2235 E. Garvey Ave. North, West Covina, (818) 966-8666. Public skating sessions are 3:30-5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon-4:30 p.m. Saturday and 2-4:45 p.m. Sunday. Evening public skating is Friday and Saturday, 8-10 p.m.
Admission is $5 for persons 13 and older and $4 for children 12 and younger. Skate rental is included. Persons bringing their own skates should ask for a $1 admission refund. In addition to ice skating classes, professionals are available for individual lessons.
A group called Dads schedules an open hockey game Wednesdays at 5:45 p.m. and Sundays at 8 p.m. An over-40 hockey league plays several games a week. "They play nice, safe hockey because they have to go to work the next day," Owner-Manager Roberta Moon said.
Pickwick Ice Arena, 1001 Riverside Drive, Burbank, (818) 846-0032. There is public skating 1:30-5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 2:30-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Evening public skating is offered on Wednesday and Saturday 8-10:30 p.m.
Admission is $4 for adults, $3.50 for juniors, ages 12 through 17; $3 for children 11 and younger and $3 for seniors 62 and older. Skate rental is $1.25.
A number of adult and youth hockey leagues play at Pickwick. Pickup hockey games are played Tuesday at 7:45 p.m., Friday at 11 p.m. and Saturday at 10:45 p.m.
Ice Capades Chalet, 6100 Laurel Canyon Blvd., North Hollywood, (818) 985-5555. Public skating Monday through Thursday 1-5 p.m. and 8-10 p.m. and Friday 1-5 p.m. and 7:30-10 p.m. and Saturday 1-10 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m. Admission is $3.75. Skate rental is $1.50.
Ice skating classes are available. The Valley Hockey League meets Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 10:15-11:30 p.m., and Sunday 5:15-8 p.m. The National Novice Hockey Assn. meets Wednesdays 10:15-11:30 p.m. and Sunday from 8:15 p.m.-midnight.
Conejo Valley Ice Skating Center, 510 N. Ventu Park Road, Newbury Park, (805) 498-6669. Public skating hours are 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; and 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Evening public skating is Wednesday and Saturday, 8:30-10:30 p.m. and Thursday and Friday, 8-10 p.m.
Admission is $4 for persons 16 and older and $3.50 for persons 15 and younger. Skate rental is $1.
The next ice skating classes will begin Jan. 7. Twelve half-hour lessons are $78. Private lessons are available for $14 to $18 per 30-minute session. "We have 17 pros on our staff who give the private lessons. Most are gold test skaters, meaning they've passed the U.S. Figure Skating Assn.'s ace test," Sheila Morris, assistant manager, said.
Iceland, 8041 Jackson St., Paramount, (213) 633-1171. The rink is open for public skating Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 3-5:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-noon and 2:45-5:15 p.m.; and Sunday 9:30 a.m.-noon and 2-5 p.m. Evening public skating is offered Tuesday and Thursday, 8-10:30 p.m, Friday and Saturday 8-11 p.m.
Admission is $3.50 for persons 13 and older and $3 for persons 12 and younger. Skate rental is $1.25
Group lessons are available for children, teens-agers and adults. An adult coffee club meets Wednesday 10 a.m.-noon. There are also figure skating and racing clubs that meet regularly.
Olympic Ice Arena, 23770 S. Western Ave., Harbor City, (213) 325-4474. Daytime public skating hours are Monday through Friday, 12:15-1:30 p.m. and 3:30-5 p.m. There is evening skating Monday and Wednesday, 8:05-10:30 p.m. and Friday, 8-10:30 p.m. Weekend public skating hours are Saturday 1-5 p.m. and 8-10:30 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m.