Winter sports that offer frigid fun
Warm-weather exercise enthusiasts may extol the many virtues of Westchester’s vast array of golf courses, lakes, and beaches—but just because the mercury has dropped doesn’t mean you need to stay indoors this winter—there are plenty of outdoor opportunities:
Every four years during the Winter Olympics, the Ardsley Curling Club experiences a surge in local interest in this relatively obscure sport whereby contestants glide a polished granite stone across what resembles a frozen shuffleboard court, while teammates use brooms to brush away ice in the stone’s path. If you’re familiar with bocce or shuffleboard—or happen to hail from Canada, where the sport’s popularity rivals that of ice hockey—you’ll have a leg (or broom) up on the competition. Contact the club at (914) 591-8019 or visit its website at ardsleycurling.org for more information.
Are you a tennis buff longing for some outdoor fun this winter? Consider this sport—known colloquially as “paddle”—invented by Scarsdale neighbors James Cogswell and Fessenden Blanchard in 1928. Both men brought the sport to the Fox Meadow Tennis Club in 1931, and a new cold-weather game was born. Players compete using 18-inch paddles on an aluminum deck that’s one-quarter the size of a conventional tennis court. Most courts are lit for nighttime winter play and contain heating systems underneath the deck for melting ice and snow. Locally, women paddlers compete in the Metropolitan Interclub Platform Tennis League, while men battle it out in the Westchester Platform Tennis League.
Each winter, ice skating enthusiasts can be found almost anywhere there is frozen water, and Westchester is no exception. Indoor rinks can be found at the Westchester Skating Academy in Elmsford, the Playland Ice Casino in Rye, Ebersole Ice Rink in White Plains, E.J. Murray Memorial Rink in Yonkers, Hommocks Park Ice Rink in Larchmont, the Ice Hutch in Mount Vernon, and the New Roc Ice Skating Center in New Rochelle.
If you prefer to skate outdoors and brave conditions at local lakes and ponds, you’ll need to bring your own skates, but
still will find plenty of nearby options. Blue Mountain Reservation in Peekskill, Mountain Lakes Park in North Salem, Sprain Lake Golf Course and Tibbetts Brook Park in Yonkers, Twin Lakes in Eastchester, Wampus Pond in Armonk, and Willson Woods in Mount Vernon are all popular county park destinations for skaters. Ice is checked daily at each location, and flags and signs are posted when conditions make it safe enough to skate.