Grab your dearest – and make like an Olympic figure skater
Family Day, the Israeli version of Mother’s Day, is celebrated every year on the 30th of Shvat. This year, it falls on February 15, today – right in the middle of the Winter Olympics. This means many of us will find ourselves celebrating the day by curling up together in front of the TV and admiring the figure skaters, while being uncomfortably aware of our couch potato identity growing stronger by the minute.
So rather than make do with a pixelated experience, why not leave the house and go feel the frost on your fingertips firsthand?
As part of a special Family Day promotion, the Ice Peaks skating rink in Holon is inviting families to partake in group skating lessons, catered specifically to groups of all ages. You pay for 45 minutes on the ice, and the rink provides you with a skating instructor who’ll coach you for 30 of those 45 minutes. The remaining 15 are yours to freely practice what you’ve learned.
“Our goal is for families to go out and celebrate, to have a family day,” says Gabi, vice president of Ice Peaks. Anyone and everyone is invited, according to him, “ages five to 120. For me, this is a gift we’re giving to the families.”
The Jerusalem Post paid a visit to Ice Peaks to find out what’s in store for those who take advantage of the Family Day promotion.
The first thing we noticed upon entering was that it was cold. Ice Peaks is reminiscent of any skating rink you’d find in cold-climate countries with a skating culture. Once inside, it’s easy to imagine you’re skating in Pyeongchang, not the Mediterranean coast. Make sure to wear long sleeves, and maybe even a coat. Also, don’t forget to bring high-rise socks – otherwise your feet will blister. The promotion includes rental skates, but they’re a bit bulky so bring your own if you have a pair.
We hadn’t skated in a while and were a bit nervous before getting on the ice, but the guy who gave us our skates assured us that “it’s like riding a bike – you don’t forget.”
He was right. Chen, our instructor, was patient with two skaters who hadn’t been on the ice in 10 years. Because we already knew the basics, she got us started on some more complicated skating patterns, slaloms and simple spins. After teaching us each trick, she guided us as we practiced, corrected our technique and helped us balance while dividing her attention evenly between us.
After watching Chen twirl a bit, I asked her how old she had been when she started skating. “Eighteen,” she said, which just goes to show that you can start at any age. However, there is something to be said for starting young. As Gabi explained, “In this sport you need to start at a very early age, because it involves lots of technique, flexibility, and so on.” And indeed, the ice was full of colorfully clad, radiant kids streaking across the rink, painting swirls in the air and ice with their hands and feet.
The skating rink opened in 2013 (one can’t help but wonder if the box-office hit Frozen, which hit theaters that same year, caused an increase in popular demand), and since then has been a go-to destination for those looking to learn to skate, host skating birthday parties and events, or just have fun. It is one of the first of its kind in Israel.
“Our main vision is just to revive the sport of ice skating in Israel.” Gabi told the Post. “We also really believe in [our young skaters] and hope that by the next Olympics we will already have representatives from Holon.”
“Ice Peaks” is the sponsor of this year’s Israeli Olympic delegation, a 10-person team that includes figure skaters, speed skaters, and skiers. The skating center, which also offers lessons year-round, is a great place to introduce young children to the sport of skating. And who knows? Maybe your kids will end up representing Israel in a future Winter Olympics. So come on, slide off the couch and onto the ice! The promotion lasts throughout “Family Week,” from February 19-23. Each Family Day session is coordinated in advance with a private instructor, so make sure you book in advance. The NIS 275 price is all-inclusive for five family members (you can add additional people for NIS 55 each).
LACE UP those skates and get your family fun on.