Ice Castle Skating Rink

Skating News is a series of blogs on what's going on in the figure skating world by Jo Ann Schneider Farris, About.com's Guide to Figure Skating.  This post shares the sad news that the famous Ice Castle Training Center in Blue Jay, California has closed its doors.

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I've been told that Blue Jay, California, a resort in southern California's San Bernadino mountains, was the place where the only ice skating rink in southern California once was. My father skated on Blue Jay's outdoor ice arena in the 1930s. In the early 1960s, he took me and my siblings there. We happily skated around that cold and small ice sheet in our little strap on double runner skates. I remember having so much fun skating in my little pink double runners that I wanted to do it again. Thanks to Blue Jay, California, my love of ice skating began.

In the early 1980s, a beautiful and charming and much nice indoor ice arena opened in the Lake Arrowhead area called the Blue Jay Ice Castle. Whenever my husband and I went to Lake Arrowhead, we took the time to skate in Blue Jay. I loved the quiet ice arena and the smell of the mountain air when I was on that ice. The rink reminded me of the summers I'd skated in Squaw Valley, California, near Lake Tahoe, when I was growing up. I also took a group of my skating students up to Lake Arrowhead once, and wished we had the time to go there more often. There was something exhilirating and refreshing about skating in the mountains.

Blue Jay's Ice Castle gave so many people happiness, but also attracted figure skaters and coaches from all over the world. When the rink's roof collapsed in 2001 after a heavy snowstorm, a new arena was built that eventually became known as the Ice Castle International Training Center.

The Ice Castle Training Center had no hockey rails and was considered a "figure skaters dream" since the rink was really geared for figure skating training. The high altitude made training there so inviting, and there was some ice time devoted to recreational ice skating.

It has been announced that the Ice Castle Training Center will close its doors on August 31, 2013. This is such sad news since it means that the coaches and skaters that live there or had planned to relocate there will have to find another training rink. I always mourn when any ice arena closes, and I do hope that somehow that the rink will reopen someday.