Ice bond­ing

Grab your dear­est – and make like an Olympic fig­ure skater

Jerusalem Post - - FRONT PAGE - • By TAMAR BEN-OZER (Tamar Ben-Ozer) To book a ses­sion: (03) 532-3008 or­

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.

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