Ice Yards returns to Navy Yard with polar plunge, frozen drinks, snowboard simulator

Snowboard simulator at the Ice Yards. (Lancer Photography)
Guests pose beneath a winter-themed archway. (Lancer Photography)
Ice sculpting is a cut above when it comes to area entertainment. (Lancer Photography)
A costumed guest does the Polar Plunge. (Lancer Photography)
A couple sits on an ice throne. (Lancer Photography)
Guests participate in ax throwing. (Lancer Photography)
WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Ice Yards (Part 1)

The Yards is an exciting waterfront spot to live, dine and shop in Southeast D.C.

The eighth annual Ice Yards returns to Yards Park on Feb. 26 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“This is our annual winter-themed event … to bring people down to get to enjoy The Yards and Yards Park in the cold months,” Brookfield Properties Director of Marketing Jill Fredrick told WTOP. “Everything is cold-weather themed. We just transform The Yards into a winter wonderland and have a lot of activities that are also winter themed.”

The outdoor experience is rain or shine and specifically for ages 21 and up.

“This year we’re transforming it into an après ski lounge, which is all the rage, so we’re really excited about that,” Fredrick said. “It will have the ski-lounge vibe, so picture the couches with furry pillows and buffalo-plaid blankets, fire pits, bear rugs, that kind of stuff.”

Not only will it look the part, it will be packed with plenty of cool activities.

“We’ll have iceless curling, which is a nod to the Olympics, ax throwing, just a nod to fun,” Fredrick said. “We have live music going the whole time, photo booths, Instagram-able stations where you can come take a picture and feel like you’re at a ski lodge.”

You can even show your skills on a large snowboard simulator.

“You’ll be able to hit the slopes with our snowboard simulator, so you can pretend you’re skiing or snowboarding out in Aspen,” Fredrick said. “You’re actually on a snowboard, so you’ve got a screen behind you that makes you feel like you’re on the slopes. I guess it’s the equivalent of riding a bull, a mechanical bull, except that you’re on a snowboard.”

You can also “take the plunge” for the annual Polar Plunge Fundraiser to benefit Special Olympics D.C., which supports over 2,500 D.C.-based athletes with year-round sports training and the opportunity to compete in the Special Olympics D.C. Games.

“We’ll be donating $5 for every ticket sale for Ice Yards to the Special Olympics,” Fredrick said. “Most people have fun with it and plunge in costumes. … What a fun way to do this. Jumping into a pool in 30-degree weather doesn’t always sound like the most fun idea, but why not if you can get out and have a nice beverage and sit on a cozy couch?”

Indeed, you can enjoy winter-inspired beverages next to a warm fire pit.

“They always have frosé, so I feel like there’s nothing better than frozen rosé on a cold winter day,” Fredrick said. “They’ll have the hot beverages like hot toddies, hot spiked apple cider, so they really try to stick to the theme when putting together the drink menu.”

The Yards is a 42-acre waterfront neighborhood along the Anacostia River. It was originally annexed from the U.S. military’s Navy Yard in 2003. The Anacostia Watershed Initiative inspired Yards Park, a 5.4 acre open space completed in 2011.

It is maintained by the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District with a $1 million annual operating budget.

“We are an easy Metro ride on the Green Line to the Navy Yard Metro,” Fredrick said. “The easiest way to get there is just plug-in Nats Park and we are two blocks away. You can bike there, Uber there, Metro there. There is parking available, but we recommend public transportation. … The biggest landmark is District Winery, right below on the boardwalk.”

You can purchase tickets for $15 here.

Register for the free Polar Plunge here.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Ice Yards (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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