Winter Olympic sports on Long Island
Let the games begin - and not just in PyeongChang. During and after the Winter Games, local rinks from Great Neck to Greenport will be filled with figure skaters, speedskaters and hockey players. If there's snow, you can watch - or try - snowboarding at Bethpage State Park. There are no ski slopes or bobsled runs here, but state parks offer the next best thing with cross-country-skiing and sledding hills. There's even a chance next month to learn the Olympic sport of curling.
THE PARKWOOD SPORTS COMPLEX: 65 Arrandale Ave., Great Neck, 516-487-7665, gnfsc.org.
When: Watch future Olympians spinning and leaping in freestyle classes Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning at 4:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2:15 p.m. and Sundays at 11:45 a.m.
Admission: Free for spectators
What better place to watch jumps and spins than the same rink where past figure-skating Olympians Emily and Sarah Hughes of Great Neck trained - and reigned. The rink features freestyle lessons for the more advanced skaters, public skating sessions, team events for ice sports, a lounge with a wood-burning fireplace, skate rental, a snack bar and grill. It's also home to the Great Neck Figure Skating Club, a member of United States Figure Skating Association.
Cantiague Park: West John Street east of Cantiague Rock Road, Hicksville, 516-571-7056
Admission: Free for spectators
In the fast-paced sport immortalized by five-time Olympic gold medalist Eric Heiden, local speedskaters hit the ice here every week. You can also watch ice hockey games and figure skating, or put on skates yourself for your own slap shots or figure eights. The gleaming county-run indoor facility, which was the New York Islanders' practice rink during the 1980s, has bleacher seating and a snack bar.
SNOWBOARDING & SLEDDING
Bethpage State Park Golf Course: 99 Quaker Meeting House Rd., Farmingdale, 516-249-0701, nysparks.state.ny.us
Snowboarders generally need to head upstate for a decent course, but there is at least one snowboard run on Long Island. When sufficient snow falls, one hill is opened for snowboarding, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Call after 7 a.m. for confirmation. Want to try the next best thing to a bobsled run? The hills of Bethpage’s Red and Green courses are the popular snow day choice for Flexible Flyers.
LONG ISLAND CURLING CLUB AT LONG ISLAND SPORTS HUB, 165 Eileen Way, Syosset, 516-900-2875, lisportshub.com
When: 7-10 p.m. March 3, 4 and 24
Admission: Free for spectators; $20 to play. Reservations are required on the website.
Curling was invented in Scotland, popularized in Canada, and has been gaining fans on Long Island since its 1998 Winter Olympics debut. One hundred Long Islanders belong to The Long Island Curling Club, which was founded a decade ago and hosts three open houses next month. Club spokesman Bobby Iadanza, 48, of Holtsville, says curling novices can spend about 20 minutes on the ice with team members, learning fundamentals such as sliding, sweeping and throwing the stone.
Long Island can’t compare to Scandinavia’s peaks where the Olympic sport of cross-country skiing originated 5,000 years ago, but local hills do provide a cheek-reddening workout. A dozen state parks offer cross-country skiing on wildernesses trails with deep-winter wildlife sightings.
Several state parks permit cross-country skiing: Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale (516-249-0700), Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve in Lloyd Neck (631-423-1770), Sunken Meadow State Park in Kings Park (631-269-4333), Wildwood State Park in Wading River (631-929-4314) and Camp Hero State Park in Montauk (631-668-3781)
Admission: Free. Call ahead to check conditions.