The holidays brought plenty of opportunity for outdoor recreation and indoor entertainment. In just those couple holiday weeks, we had the opportunity to downhill ski at Alpine Meadows Ski Area and Squaw Valley USA. When we felt like we needed to get a good cardiac burn, we headed over to Tahoe XC, for some ridiculously anaerobic skate skiing (the ultimate calorie burner…think , eggnog, cookies, holiday parties!).
Following those exhausting skate skiing days, we recovered by enjoying some snowmobiling from Tahoe City to Northstar and relaxing on the deck in the sunshine with a hot chocolate. In the evenings, time was spent with close friends and family and then on New Years Eve we were treated as guests to the clean-cut, San Francisco band called Diegos Umbrella at the Plaza Bar at Squaw Valley USA.
In case the above forms of recreation and entertainment don’t do it for you, if you are in the know, you can follow the underground pond hockey players around in hopes of finding perfect skating ice. The average Lake Tahoe or Truckee pond hockey player has played hockey as a child, but is of the age where they realize that they are not invincible and ‘no check’ hockey is no longer just for sissys; rather, it is now for the more intelligent, wise and experienced players. The other players usually on the ice are the up-and-coming children of the ‘no check’ players.
The kids on the ice have been enjoying all day skate parties, roasting hot dogs out at the ice, and learning to skate by pushing crates or chairs around the ice for hours, since they were 3 years old. When they become proficient enough, it is an honor to be asked by the pond hockey ‘organizer’ to join the game with the big dogs. At first they are advised to skate around the outside of the game, but as time goes on,
they are able to join in the play and look forward to the moments where they are able to steal the puck from Dad!
So, where are the secret spots? Well, it’s actually no secret…there are a few local private ponds, Prosser Reservoir, Boca Reservoir, the lakes in Coldstream Canyon and Donner Lake. The secret is, which ponds have the human Zamboni’s cleared and flooded and on what day? I bet if you are serious about pond hockey, you’ll be in the know. If you’re not that serious, there’s always the charming, old-town outdoor ice rink in Truckee, the ice rink in the Village at Northstar and the, arguably, most majestic ice rink in the US at the Olympic Ice Pavilion in Squaw Valley. Here’s to sharp blades and taped sticks…!