Ice Skating in Rancho Mirage? Only at the Westin!

Have I got great news for you, dear readers. Dust off those ice skates, lace ’em up, and come on down to the The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage for some frosty frolicking on a pair of blades! That’s right. You read me correctly. The desert and frozen fun don’t usually go together, but this year they do as the Westin puts on its first (but hopefully not last) “Holiday on Ice” extravaganza.

From late December to early January, a true ice skating rink will materialize under the swaying palms and twinkling Christmas tree lights of Master’s Plaza. The precise schedule goes like this: December 21, 22, 23 – 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. December 24 through 30 – 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. December 31 – 12:00 to 8:00 p.m. January 1 and 2 – 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. January 3 – 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The best news is that “Holiday on Ice” is open to both resort guests and local residents and visitors. The cost is $15 per session or $25 for an all-day pass, and that fee includes skate rentals. (So I guess you don’t have to dust off your own after all—but you still have to lace ’em up!) Even better, $2 from each skating fee collected will be donated to Shelter From the Storm, a local non-profit that aids women and children who are victims of domestic violence.

Each hour-long session starts on the hour, and participants will be admitted on a first come, first served basis. Depending on the day, the number of skaters may be limited to maintain a safe sporting environment. And for those of you who may be a little rusty—this is the desert, after all—15-minute individual lessons with a pro on blades are available for an additional $75. Tickets to “Holiday on Ice” may be purchased at the rink using cash or credit cards; hotel guests may charge to their room.

But how is skating in the December desert daytime even possible, you may ask? Well, dear readers, the skating rink is made of synthetic ice, which describes as “a solid polymer material designed for skating using normal metal-bladed ice skates. Like ice, it provides a smooth ice skating surface. Unlike ice, it will not melt during our beautiful, mild-temperature days.”

As for the fine print, skaters must be at least six years old, and all under 18 must have a parent or guardian present at the skating rink during their session. Said parents and guardians are not required to skate alongside their minor charges. Socks are required, and flexible active wear is recommended. Knee guards are an especially good idea! And please check the weather beforehand and dress accordingly.

I don’t know about you, but I think the Westin had a smashing seasonal idea. I can do without snow—that’s why I live here year-round—but to get the opportunity to ice skate in this sublime climate? Out of this world! I can barely wait to hit the ice…

“At Westin Mission Hills, we celebrate families by giving our guests and our friends in the community opportunities to make special memories,” General Manager Randy Zupanski told me recently. “Installing an ice skating rink for the holidays is a great way for families to have fun together and start a new tradition. Although this is the first year for this great program, our plans are to continue it every year so that families can return each season to renew and reconnect in a special way.”

Music to my ears, Randy! I hope the Westin’s inaugural ice skating year is a resounding success so that it can indeed become an annual ritual. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go brush up on my lutz and axel jumps. What? You didn’t know I was a prize-winning figure skating champion in my day? A girl can fantasize, can’t she? Michelle Kwan and Oksana Baiul have nothing on Diana Dodge!