By Simon Weedn
One need only drive as far as malls like Galleria At Tyler, Ontario Mills, Inland Center Mall, or Montclair Plaza to find easy going, refreshingly frosty expanses of retail to drift aimlessly through for hours on end. For the particularly ambitious mall-goer, perhaps try to arrange one of those dancing flash mobs to become the viral internet flavor of the hour. However, for the more scholarly Inland Empire resident, there is no shortage of amazing museums, which have to be temperature controlled out of necessity, to frolic around and culture yourself in. In Riverside, one might head on over to the University of California, Riverside’s ARTSblock to check out their three museums: The California Museum of Photography (which features an array of displays and exhibitions on photography both classic and contemporary), The Sweeney Art Gallery (which in the last five years, has risen to international prominence for contemporary art exhibitions) and The Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts (which features an array of exhibitions, installations and performances by everyone from traditional fine artists, film makers, and spoken word artists). If you’re out in San Bernardino, the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art can offer respite from the heat with their exhibitions. The IE even has offerings for the racing enthusiast with the Riverside International Automotive Museum and the NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona.
With all these amenities and the AC safe havens, it can be easy to forget the most basic way to cool down—ice. And where better to find ice in large quantities than at an ice skating rink, of which the Inland Empire has great ones. In fact, there really is no better way to keep cool on a thermometer shattering day than to glide, or for most of us, cautiously and sometimes wildly fly, across a giant sheet of frozen water. Lucky for those of us with little to no experience with skating, all five of the Empire’s skating rinks offer beginners courses that hopefully won’t result in too many unwanted bruises or sore butts, elbows and wrists.
Yorba Linda Ice
If you happen to live near Corona, you’re going to want to head over to Yorba Linda Ice. The rink features an array of activities, classes and workshops for any level of skater. For those just starting out, the rink offers several beginners classes, including one for children ages 3-5 (for those of you with little ones out there). For the more intermediate skater, Yorba Linda Ice offers advanced skating classes, hockey skills classes, power skating classes and even advanced harness jump classes (for those you aspiring to be the next Nancy Kerigan or Brian Boitano). Additionally, Yorba Linda Ice offers classes and information for those aspiring to join youth or adult hockey leagues as well as basic hockey classes for any parent looking for a unique summertime sport to enroll their child in.
Ontario Ice Skating Center
For those of you out around Upland, Chino, Claremont and Pomona, the Ontario Ice Skating Center is going to be the closest frozen pond to you. Ontario Ice is home to the Ontario Hot Blades, a team of recreational figure skaters that has won championships in both the U.S. and Asia. The rink features an array of classes for children of all ages as well as boasting quite the birthday party package that takes care of any and all party responsibilities for the busy parent. Like other rinks, Ontario Ice Skating Center also offers an array of hockey classes for both children and adults, which start at the beginning of each month. Additionally, for the night owl, Ontario Ice is available for late night broomball sessions starting around 10PM or 11PM most nights of the week (although you have to reserve the time in advance).
Ontario Center Ice Arena
Those in the western part of the Inland Empire also have the choice of going to Ontario Center Ice Arena, which is home to the Ontario Avalanche, The California Wave Hockey Club and the All Year Figure Skating Club. Most notably, Center Ice offers a comprehensive skating school for both youth and adults that covers a variety of ice skating activities from hockey to figure skating to ice dancing and all of the skating fundamentals in between. Like other rinks, Ontario Ice offers birthday party packages, broomball games and event rentals. For the hockey enthusiast, there are regular games for both hockey clubs that play out of Ontario Ice during their seasons, and for casual hockey players, the rink offers pickup games early on Friday afternoons.
For the resident of the Inland Empire’s more mountainous regions, Ice Castle International Training Center is going to be your summertime winter wonderland. Featuring quite the ensemble world renowned coaching staff, Ice Castle offers a plethora of skating classes for all ages and skill levels, and also seems like the place to go for the more ambitious skater. In addition to regular classes, Ice Castle offers a deluxe Performance Training Summer Camp that includes meals, lodging, daily ice sessions and group lessons, nighttime activities and iced dancing and jump classes. While a majority of Ice Castle’s offerings might be more focused on the more serious, aspiring professional skater, the rink also offers birthday party packages, broomball games and private event rentals to cover any type of ice rink need or activity.
Lastly, for the more centrally located Inland Empire-er, the LA Kings’ Icetown Riverside is your closest option. Like many of the other facilities, Icetown offers an array of hockey and figure skating lessons and classes for all range of age and ability. However, most distinctively, Icetown offers free one-time only “try-it” classes for absolute beginners attempting to decide if either figure skating or hockey is the activity for them. Icetown also offers summer camps for hockey and figure skating, as well as hosting auditions and playing home to the LA King’s Ice Crew who perform at Kings games and charity events. The most unique and interesting feature of Icetown is their Sled Hockey program. The program is specially geared toward disabled athletes and allows people who might not be physically able to get up on a pair of regular skates, the ability to still learn and enjoy the sport of hockey. The program is for ages five and up, with a weekly ice session and the sign up cost includes sleds, sticks and protective gear rental.
So have no fear residents of the expansive Inland Empire, literally, wherever you live, you are in reasonable proximity to large arenas full of icy, frozen goodness. Even if you have no intention of actually skating, just sitting in the bleachers of one of these places will have you basking in the frigid, temperature controlled, refreshment. However, if the ice rinks, the malls, or the museums, are still a bit too far of a drive and you need cooling suggestions for your home without air conditioning, here are a few.
First, a bag of ice hanging in front of a fan, or even better, several bags of ice in front of several fans can go a long way. Second, cold cans of beer (or soda) wedged between you and the chair that you’re sitting in is one of the most effective means of cooling down. If one is feeling particularly ambitious, try buying two twelve-packs so that you can effective rotate fresh ones in as the others are consumed or begin to warm up. Third, even if you’re an adult, investing in a kiddie pool can be a real life saver. Then you need only find a shady tree to keep it under and just add ice until it reaches an appropriate temperature. A word of caution though, if you plan on leaving it unsupervised while filled with water, put a 2×4 in it and position it as a small ramp leading out of the pool. That way you can ensure that you’re summer time sanctuary doesn’t become the gruesome seen of mass squirrel or other little critter death when they accidentally fall in trying to quench their thirst. Lastly, if you have blankets and duct tape, building a little tent in front of your refrigerator door is always an option. Although the fridge door method should be used sparingly to prevent the premature refrigerator motor burn out. However, if you do own an air conditioner, consider yourself lucky and enjoy your sky rocketing electricity bills and comfortable climate situation. For everyone else, good luck this summer and keep cool on those unimaginably hot days.