By Lisa Lynn Morgan
In temperatures that threatened to melt my eyelashes together, I parked my vehicle that had only just begun to control its inner 130 degree climate. I walked my lethargic posterior across the parking lot, enduring sporadic blasts of heat from the asphalt that made my hair move (an amazing fact if you know how much hair spray I tend to use). My mission: To investigate an ice skating rink in the middle of the desert located in Cathedral City, California. Opening the doors to my destination, a feeling of euphoria overwhelmed me as I stepped into the very cool arena of Desert Ice Castle (insert heavenly theme music here). Here in this 50ish degree building sustaining a near National Hockey League sized ice rink, I came to learn that children and adults alike are kept much fresher on ice. No child sat sedentary in front of a television or game station. No adult looked miserably at their watch as they got their cardio workout. Smiles were big and movements, for the most part, graceful and full of joy.
Pictures of the phenomenally decorated coaching staff lined the walls. With long lists of Olympic, National and/or International skating and coaching experience, it was clear that they were all capable of equipping any one to skate to whatever level they desired. Observing their long list of activities, it was obvious that any age could enjoy this icy escape for about the cost of popcorn and a movie. And yes, do not fear my fellow munchies addicted friends, there is a snack bar.
I have to say, the visit warmed my heart and gave me a new hope in our future generations. As I left, mission complete, I witnessed a pack of teenagers (and forgive me for profiling) that one such as I, might assume would be parked on a sofa complaining about how bored they were because “there’s nothing to do.” Instead, they were excited and willing to wait a half hour for the next free skate to open up. I met a small band of exhausted 9 year old boys sitting ever so gingerly in the entryway. Yes, you read that right ~ EXHAUSTED 9 YEAR OLD BOYS SITTING GINGERLY on parts that had cushioned many a fall, as they compared sore and tired muscles, laughing and planning for “next time.” I saw an older adult couple holding hands on what appeared to be their 50th first date. As I drew closer to the doors that kept out the heat of the desert sun, I suddenly envisioned myself coming back, lacing up some skates and getting on the ice. When I was done laughing, I vowed that, even if only for the comic relief, I would return as a participant to the wonderful world that our beautiful desert knows as Desert Ice Castle.
Desert Ice Castle is open for public skating amidst offerings of Skating School, Hockey and Hockey clinics as well as private lessons. They are even available for birthday parties. A complete listing of offerings, schedules and fees are available online at http://deserticecastle.com/index.html. Desert Ice Castle is located at 68-600 Perez Road, Cathedral City and can be contacted at (760) 324-0400.