Pinehurst Resort will soon add a seasonal twist to the greeting callers receive when inquiring about rooms or activities.
Besides always being a “a beautiful day in Pinehurst,” it will also be something of a Sandhills winter wonderland at least for a couple of months starting Friday.
The resort is transforming the west lawn of the Carolina Hotel into a 2,100-square-foot skating rink complete with music, lights and “festive cheer” to help get people in the holiday spirit. It features a synthetic ice surface that does not require cold temperatures, according to Josh Leap, the resort’s recreation director.
“Whether temperatures call for sweaters or shorts, you can enjoy this unique skating experience,” he said Tuesday afternoon.
Called “Skating Under the Pines,” the rink is scheduled to operate through Jan. 11 and will be open to the public in addition to members and resort guests. It will feature popular winter food and beverages including s’mores bites, cookies, brownies, as well as hot chocolate, coffee and a full bar. There will be fire pits and patio heaters for those genuinely cold days.
“We are trying to create that unique atmosphere,” Leap said. “As you step off the front steps of the hotel and look to the west lawn you will be able to see it, hear and feel it.”
By midday Tuesday, the base of the skating rink surface had been installed on the lawn adjacent to the swimming, and work continued on setting up the enclosure, which happens to be a signature Pinehurst white picket fence, Leap said.
“We really wanted to try to tie into the Pinehurst look,” he said.
The rink will offer 50-minute skating sessions on the hour, with tickets costing $15 a person that can be purchased onsite. Skates will be provided.
The sessions will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and based on the rink capacity. Skaters will have to sign a written waiver.
The hours will be 4-8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1-8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. But the resort cautions that the schedule and hours are subject to change based on weather conditions and safety concerns.
Group skating and private parties can call be scheduled by calling Leap at (910) 235-8783 or by emailing him at email@example.com.
Leap said he began thinking about new and unique holiday activities for families this summer and came up with this idea
“What is something that hasn’t been at the resort and in the village?” he said.
He researched companies and found one in Arizona that does these kind of skating rinks all over the country.
“It is a synthetic ice floor that is not cold to the touch,” Leap said. “A glide enhancer is applied to the surface. You get the feel of skating on ice. This is a unique thing to provide to our resort members and guests.”
The holiday skating rink is yet another effort by the resort to appeal to growing younger demographic in the village as well as among the ranks of its members.
On July Fourth, the resort set up a small carnival on the grounds beside the Resort Clubhouse for its members that included rides and bounce houses for the kids, and live entertainment.
On a much larger scale, the resort opened a $4.3 million swimming complex that leaders believe will help the club grow and sustain its membership. The complex is next to the Member’s Club that fronts the 18th green of Pinehurst No. 2.