Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ice Skating in Evergreen

One of the reasons why I love the state of Colorado so much is that year round there is never a shortage of outdoor activities. Of course winter presents it's own set of unique challenges in finding "something" to do on the weekends. For the past couple of years Chad and I have opted not to buy ski passes to save money. 2008 was the year we were engaged and 2009 was the year we were married so during that time we needed to be saving money not spending a combined total of $900 on ski passes. Plus there's the fact that Chad now has a 8-4 job so we can't just take off during the week to the mountains whenever we want. Anyone who lives in this state knows that skiing on the weekends is nothing but long lift lines and traffic on I-70 and is something you want to avoid unless you have a guest in town. With the absence of this winter activity and the freezing temperatures and snow all over it's tempting to hid inside all weekend long. However, Chad and I are pretty active people and well...we just can't sit still for very long. When trying to decide what to do this weekend, I ran through my usual list of suggestions which all pretty much involved shopping. When those were vetoed I suggested the only thing that popped into my brain, "how about ice skating?"

Now I have not ice skated in well over 10 years and most of my limited time ice skating has been confined to an ice arena. Growing up in Alabama, lakes just don't freeze and thus there's no such thing as a "natural" ice rink. Even here in Colorado the only places I had seen to skate were in outdoor mall areas which were usually small and crowded. Well after a little research Chad found the perfect spot: Evergreen. ( Evergreen is only about half an hour, 45 minutes away but once you are there you feel like you are in a small mountain town like Vail or something. Of course it's much less expensive than a ski town and of course, a lot closer. I had taken some friends hiking up there when they came a few summers ago so I was familiar with the area, but had never ventured there in the winter. Since we wanted to take our dog out too, Evergreen provided everything we needed because right near the lake were hiking trails. Mostly we just let our dog run her little heart out off the leash in the woods because the trails were muddy from melting snow or slippery from existing snow but she loved it nonetheless. Then we walked across the street to this big frozen lake that a section of had been cleared off for skating. Chad has played hockey before so he already owns skates but I had to rent mine. For the two of us plus my skates it was only $16 which makes this one of the cheapest winter activites I can think of in colorado. The ice itself was actually sectioned off with a big area for skating then smaller areas set up for people to play hockey if they wanted. There were quite a few adults and children in the various hockey areas playing and even though there seemed to be quite a few people there overall, the skating area is so big you don't feel claustrophobic (or feel like you are going to be mowed down by an over excited 13 year old).

We skated about 2 hours although apparently we could have gone longer because they had lights set up outside and the place didn't close until 10pm. After the sun set it started getting chilly and I wasn't really dressed for an all night skate-a-thon. I will say though it was quite the thigh workout and not to mention a lot of fun. I've never skated on a frozen lake before so it was quite the experience for me.

Like most people nowadays Chad and I are trying to save money anywhere we can and it's amazing how creative you can become when on a limited budget. Even though I'm not the biggest fan of winter, there truly are some fabulous activites in this state that can get you up and moving and don't cost a fortune. I love being outdoors and so it's great to know that even when skiing isn't feasible I have other options to play in the winter wonderland that is Colorado. I just can't wait to share this secret with others when they come out to visit.

Who knows what we will discover next?

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