Sleigh bells ring, are you listening…gliding in a winter wonderland


   As the warm afternoons and colorful leaves fade away, the gloomy clouds and gusting winds emerge, signifying the beginning of the winter season. Even though many prefer to remain indoors with the comfort of heat, some brave souls strive to embrace the cold weather and enjoy activities outside. One of the most popular winter activities is ice skating. There are many ice rinks that are commonly visited throughout the D.C. area.

   The Washington Harbour ice rink, 30 minutes from WJ, is located on the Potomac River between Georgetown and downtown D.C. The ice rink is outdoors, surrounded by local shops and restaurants. It is open from November to March annually and is the largest outdoor ice rink in D.C. Admission costs $10 for adults and $9 for children, with an additional $6 fee for skate rentals if needed. The Washington Harbour ice rink periodically hosts themed skates, such as Rock N Skate and Cartoon Skate. The rink can also be rented out for special occasions.

   Freshman Geneva Smith visited the Washington Harbour ice rink over Thanksgiving break, shortly after it opened for the season.

   “I loved how when you were skating, you could look out onto the river; it was really scenic and peaceful,” Smith said. “I also liked that there was a variety of restaurants that you could go to when you got tired of skating.”

   The Rockville Town Center ice rink, located 10 minutes from WJ, is often visited by WJ students. Due to the proximity and the low rates, the Rockville ice rink has become a hotspot for skating WJ students. Admission for adults is $9, while kids are $8, adding on $4 for skate rentals. Similar to the Washington Harbour ice rink, the Rockville Town Center is encircled by a large variety of restaurants and shops. For the Washington Harbour and Rockville Town Center, it is very convenient to hop off the ice and grab a hot chocolate from one of the neighboring cafes. The ice rink provides skating lessons for those who are less experienced and hoping to improve, in addition to the ability to be rented out for parties or important events.

   Junior Lauren Danco has visited the Rockville Town ice rink multiple times and always has a good time.

   “I really like the Rockville ice rink because it’s fun to go skating outside and it is pretty much the only outdoor ice rink near us. It’s also nice to have so many restaurants around for when you get tired of skating,” Danco said.

   Lastly, the Cabin John ice rink, only a seven minute drive from WJ, provides a somewhat warmer facility with three indoor ice rinks. For those who don’t want to depart the indoors, the Cabin John ice rink provides a middle ground. Not only does Cabin John host public skates, but it is also home to many hockey games and ice skating competitions. If an open skate is going on in one ice rink, there is often a game or competition going on in the other that is free to watch. The main advantage to the Cabin John ice rink is that when one feels the need to grab a warm beverage or snack from the cafe, they can exit the rink and and purchase one without having to take their skates off. Admission is $4 for kids under four, $10 for kids ages five to 10 and $7 for adults, adding a $3.50 fee for skate rentals if necessary.

   Senior Aaron Greene is a captain of the WJ hockey team who often has both games and practices at Cabin John.

   “Playing at Cabin John is great; it is really convenient because it is so close, so it is easy for the players to get there. At Cabin John, we also get a lot of fans which really helps energize and motivate our team,” Greene said.

   All in all, there are many options for people who want to participate in a fun outdoor or indoor activity. Ice skating is not the only winter activity; other popular activities are sledding, skiing/snowboarding, outdoor bonfire, and many more! It is important to always remember to bundle up in order to remain warm while hanging around outside and bring extra money for many hot chocolate purchases.