Winter alt sports
The gym is boring, but you're too broke to ski. No problem-there's always ice broomball.
Fri Dec 18 2009
Illustration: Alicia Plate
Alterna-what? Imagine ice hockey, but replace the sticks with modified brooms (wooden dowels with triangular rubber heads), the pucks with balls, and the skates with sneakers. "It takes effort to get moving," says Matt Archambault, New York Social Sports Club's marketing manager. "But it's an awesome workout." Two teams of six face off in each game, and while it does get competitive, try not to knock someone's teeth out—this isn't the NHL. If you want to look fancy on the ice, head to broomball.com and invest in an STX Gold Crown broom ($99.99). Those Quidditch fools will have nothing on you.
Sign up now: Players compete at Prospect Park's Kate Wollman Rink (enter at Lincoln Rd and Ocean Ave, Prospect Park, Brooklyn; 718-287-6431). The Super Social Division, which is open to all experience levels, meets Wednesday nights at 9:30pm and begins a new five-week season on January 20. Register with New York Social Sports Club by Tuesday 4 (individuals $100, teams $1,200).
Do this afterward: Head to the team-sponsored saloon Aces and Eights (34 Ave A between 2nd and 3rd Sts, 212-353-2237), and toast your win or drown your icy sorrows with some $10 pitchers.
Alterna-what? You probably haven't hurtled down snow-covered hills on an inner tube since you stopped wearing snowsuits to school. Get ready to feel like you're 12 again during a snow-tubing trip arranged by Urban Escapes, which regularly plans adventures for young professionals who have forgotten what nature looks like. "We're in the business of fun," says co-owner Bram Levy. "It's perfect for people who have no outdoor experience whatsoever, and it brings you right back to childhood." The group has eight tubing tours on its winter schedule: On Sunday 3, hours of snow play are preceded by a winter hike through Southford Falls State Park ($99). Or combine your cold-weather frolicking with booze. The day trip on January 16 ends at Captain Lawrence Brewery in Pleasantville, New York, for a beer tasting ($119).
Sign up now: Buy your pass in advance on the UE website; trips leave from Manhattan at 9am (meet at 43rd St between Eighth and Ninth Aves, look for the van) and return at 6pm. Transportation and tube rental is provided, but be sure to bring winter-weather gear—snow boots, warm clothing and a dry change of clothes.
Do this afterward: Defrost with your tube teammates at Irish Rogue (356 W 44th St between Eighth and Ninth Aves, 866-469-7965).
Coney Island Polar Bear Club
Alterna-what? For more than 100 years, members of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club have plunged into the frigid waters of the Atlantic Ocean, all in the name of good health. But the weekly meetings are more recreational than anything—you aren't obligated to race or swim laps. "It's more like winter bathing," explains club director Dennis Thomas. Club members venture into the sea wearing little more than bathing suits, but good footwear—weatherproof boots or old sneakers—is recommended to protect your dogs from the elements.
Sign up now: The club meets every Sunday from November through April, and the Polar Bears host their annual, free New Year's Day swim on Friday 1. Gather at the Boardwalk at Stillwell Avenue at noon to kill your first 2010 hangover with a wintry dip.
Do this afterward: Journey north to Commonwealth (497 Fifth Ave at 12th St, Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-768-2040). A cup of its hot apple cider (spiked with bourbon, naturally) will raise your body temperature and make you forget all about the chilly waters—until next week, if you dare.