Olympic fever? If you have an inner Franz Klammer or Jamaican bobsledder you need to release, we have the outlet for you. Look out Eddie the Eagle, here we come.
Curling, Pasadena, Valencia
Admit it, you giggle. Stop. Curling is cool. “One of the great things about curling,” said Liza Beres, president of Hollywood Curling, “is that it is like all those sports where you sit there in your arm chair and say, ‘Hey, I bet I can do that,’ but in our sport you can.”
Cost, info: $25 for learn-to-curl lessons in Pasadena and Valencia; go to www.hollywoodcurling.org to register. Stones and brooms provided.
Ice skating, Lakewood
Ice skating is the most beloved of the Winter Games, with all the salchows, axels, sequin disasters and copious tears. The Rinks-Lakewood Ice is a Southland haven for the sport’s best, including Nathan Chen and Adam Rippon, and you can stand, glide and fall on that same ice. “Anyone can do it,” said Jacqui Palmore, figure skating manager. “The only thing needed to get on the ice is a desire to try it.”
Cost, info: Eight 30-minute group lessons cost $120 and include skates and ice time. www.lakewoodice.therinks.com.
Bobsled? Hah! We cut our teeth on the Matterhorn at Disneyland. “It is nothing like a roller coaster,” said Melanie Welch, marketing director for the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation. “Let’s just say it’s intense.” It? The sliding-sports track in Park City, Utah, one of the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic venues. In something less than a minute, three thrill seekers and a seasoned driver hit 65 mph, pulling up to 3Gs in a gravity missile known as a four-person bobsled.
Cost, info: $175 per person, 16 and older, good ticker,100-pound minimum. Bobsledexperience
Alpine skiing, Lake Tahoe
North Lake Tahoe’s Squaw Valley, site of the 1960 Winter Games, is known for extreme terrain. It also harbors something else — gobs of beginner terrain high up on the mountain instead of down low by the car park. Squaw is equally high on its learn-to-ski curriculum. Says a Squaw spokesperson: “We believe a first-time skier can be on intermediate terrain after three lessons.”
Cost, info: $249 for one-day lift, group lesson and rental. Pay for two and get a third day gratis. www.squawalpine.com
Cross-country skiing, British Columbia
“Cross-country is quiet; you’re out in nature, often alone on the trail, enjoying the landscape,” said Silke Jeltsch, communications specialist for Whistler Sport Legacies. “The learning curve isn’t steep, and it’s the safest winter sport you can do.” I guess it’s the Subaru of the cold-month activities: responsible, slightly quirky and taking you to spectacular places and safely back. Whistler, British Columbia, was a host site for much of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Cost, Info: Ninety-minute group lessons and rental for about $52 (U.S.), lat.ms/whistlercrosscountry