Beat the summer exercise void with the Olympic sport of curling.
Now that liquid-asphalt season is here, the idea of participating in winter sports is literally cooler than ever. There’s always ice skating or hockey, but if you really want a butt-busting cool-down, try curling. Tempe-based Coyotes Curling Club conducts classes year-round. The Olympic sport – said to boost balance, agility and strength – consists of sliding 42-pound pieces of granite, called “stones,” across a 150-foot ice “sheet.” The game plays like overgrown shuffleboard, with teams of four vying for superior stone placement in the target “house,” comprised of a set of concentric rings. The challenge lies in the “delivery” slide of the stone, and then the “sweeping” of the ice by players alongside the stone. Players rub the ice with brooms to melt it and change the stone’s trajectory. “Learn to Curl” classes cost $30 per person at Coyotes Curling Club, 2202 W. Medtronic Way, Tempe, 602-300-4808, coyotescurling.com.
Arcadia Ice Arena
3853 E. Thomas Rd., Phoenix
This longtime family favorite focuses on the fun side, with a lot of public skate time, group events, pick-up hockey games and even broomball (like hockey without skates). They offer private and group lessons on basic ice skating or even Olympic-style figure skating. Open skating costs less than $10 per person including skates; pick-up hockey is $15 per person; and eight-week skating classes are quoted at $120 each.
9375 E. Bell Rd., Scottsdale
The practice home of the Phoenix Coyotes, the Ice Den offers hockey leagues, lessons and public skating for less than $15 (including skates). Their most popular program is probably their Family Nights, when kids younger than age 5 skate for just $5, and everyone else gets in for $9 (on Fridays) or $8 (on Saturdays), including skate rentals. These nights feature pop music, disco lights, lasers and even prizes.
1520 N. McClintock Dr., Tempe
Most rinks offer a variety of things, but Oceanside specializes in hockey. They host the ASU Sun Devils and many local leagues. Come out to watch a practice or a game, or even join one of the many amateur leagues. They also host group and team-building events, like hockey, broomball and skating ($250 per hour and up, depending on how much equipment you need).