By CECE COUNTRYMAN ’15
The 2014 Winter Olympics are fast approaching. Excitement, patriotism, competitiveness and a sense of global unity fill the air. As you prepare to watch the Games, you might wish you had the chance to become an Olympian yourself. Maybe you won’t be able to help wanting to hit the slopes when you see Shaun White flying in the halfpipe, somersaulting in midair. If so, you’re in luck: You don’t have to go all the way to Russia to get your chance at the Olympics. There are plenty of opportunities right here in Boston to unleash your inner Winter Olympian.
Our first events in the Boston Olympic Games are skiing and snowboarding. Though not directly in Boston, there are plenty of ski areas nearby. The Wachusett Mountain in Princeton, Mass. is about an hour’s drive from Wellesley. Open daily, passes run from $15 to $60, depending on the day of the week and how much access you want in the park. If you’ve never skied or snowboarded before, Wachusett Mountain offers private and group lessons and beginner packages that include a daily pass and equipment rental.
For another interesting experience at Wachusett Mountain, you may want to try night-skiing; the mountain stays open until 10 p.m. And if you’re too exhausted from your day on the slopes to make the trek back to Wellesley, check out the lodge, Wachusett Village Inn. The inn offers complimentary breakfasts Monday through Friday, free WiFi, the option to rent snowshoes and some nice ski and stay deal packages.
Don’t have a car? No problem! The MBTA conveniently provides a weekend shuttle to Wachusett Mountain from North Station for $20 round trip.
Another ski destination located closer to Boston is Blue Hills Ski Area in Canton, about 20 minutes from downtown Boston. Daily passes range from $25 to $39. Also, even though it’s getting later in the season, Blue Hills does offer a college-discounted season pass. If you’re big on skiing, a pass may be something to consider for next season.
Further away, but no less fun is Pats Peak in Henniker, N.H. If skiing and snowboarding aren’t your thing, this park also offers snow tubing. Want to really get into the Olympic spirit and try out some skiing or snowboarding tricks, but not take the risk of hurting yourself? Pats Peak offers “The Big Air Bag,” a giant stunt airbag placed behind a ski jump that provides a cushion to catch you on practice jumps.
Our second Boston Olympic event is ice-skating. Unlike skiing, ice-skating opportunities are available directly in the city. Skating at the Boston Common Frog Pond, open daily, is available for $5. If you don’t have your own skates, the rental fee is $9. Also, every Tuesday night is College Night, when college students receive a discounted $2 admission. On Feb. 15, Frog Pond will host SkateFest! from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Coaches from The Skating Club of Boston Skating Academy will offer free lessons and elite skaters will be present to give tips.
For our next Olympic activity, you can try out something unique—curling, a sport that’s a little more popular with our Canadian neighbors. Located in Bridgewater, the South Shore Curling Club allows you to try your hand—and brooms—at this fun and unique Olympic ice event. “Learn to Curl” sessions are available for $35 on Sunday, March 2 and Sunday, March 16.
Our final Olympic event may not be one that you can play for yourself, but rather a sporting event you can attend without crossing the Atlantic. With plenty of possible home games left in the season and tickets as cheap as $20, attending a Bruins hockey game could be exactly what you need to help fulfill your dreams of shaving ice on an Olympic hockey rink.
With all these exciting activities in and around Boston, you don’t have to go far to feel like an Olympian—even if you may not qualify as one!