Guest article by Brittany Ballard
While ice activities may not be the norm here in Central Texas, Chaparral Ice is curating memorable experiences for all who visit. When the Texas temperatures get too high for you, grab a pair of skates and glide into winter temperatures.
The Story of Chaparral Ice
Charles Collins used to drive his daughters back and forth to San Antonio, when their passion for figure skating drew them to the nearest public ice rink for practice. Eventually, he decided Austin needed its own ice skating rink, and the idea of Chaparral Ice was born. Two decades later, and now owned by Ryan Raya, the facility gets over 71,000 visitors annually and has become the heart of a tight-knit community of amateurs and professionals on the ice.
Shortly after Raya purchased Chaparral Ice, he decided to remodel the space, to upgrading the locker rooms, bathrooms, and spectator areas. The facility has also added a heated viewing area for families, and a sports bar is in the works. Renovations are scheduled to be complete by the end of 2017.
Angie Vaught, general manager, says that once people have gotten a taste of the facility, they tend to stick around. Children who start off as day campers decide they want to be a part of a team when they are older.
Public Ice Skating and Other Activities
People of all skill levels are welcome to glide onto the ice for public skating. If you’re hesitant, there are entry-level skate classes to help you get started. Chaparral Ice also offers group activities for those feeling adventurous, but who aren’t quite ready to dive headfirst into something as challenging as hockey or figure skating. Pick up a game of broomball (similar to hockey) or dodgeball, and you won’t even have to wear skates on the ice.
Keep an eye out for themed events. Chaparral Ice has held trivia nights in the past, as well as themed dress-up nights.
Youth and Adult Hockey
Chaparral Ice is the only NHL regulation-sized rink in Austin that’s available to the public. Several high-profile organizations use it, such as the Texas Stars, American Hockey League, and The University of Texas club team. But the rink isn’t just reserved for the pros. Adults and children, starting at age three, can join the various hockey leagues and competitions that take place throughout the year.
The hockey program is also a great way for kids to get international exposure, by playing with teams from other countries. Last year, a team went to Beijing to compete and had the experience of their young lives.
Where grace meets ice, figure skating is another big program at the facility, with over 1,000 active figure skaters. You can tell the seriousness of these skaters by the amount of time some of them put into their craft. Some spend six hours a day on the ice!
Maybe you’ve noticed, but curling has grown in popularity, and Austin refuses to be left out of the fun. The Lone Star Curling Club, the first curling club in the city, calls Chaparral Ice its home. Practices are held weekly. You can also join leagues or take learn-to-curl classes.
As you can see, there are plenty of ice activities at Chaparral Ice. No matter what your age or skill level, you’re never too cool (pun intended) to get out onto the ice.
2525 W. Anderson Lane – Website
@theAustinot wants to know:
Would you prefer to play hockey, figure skate, or just glide around at Chaparral Ice?
Born in Austin, but raised as an Army Brat outside of Ft. Hood, Brittany didn’t find her way back to the city until 2012 when she attended St. Edward’s University. She spends her free time reading, blogging, finding the perfect outfit for her fashion-inspired Instagram, and exploring Austin one piece at a time.
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