Celebrate 10 years of Ice Yards DC with snowboard simulators, ax throwing, penguin bowling

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Ice Yards DC (Part 1)

Did you get a nice dusting of snow over the weekend and now you’re thirsty for more?

Ice Yards celebrates its 10th anniversary at The Yards D.C. this Saturday, Feb. 24 from 1 to 4 p.m.

“This is a very special anniversary year,” Jill Fredrick, vice president of programming and retail marketing for Brookfield Properties, told WTOP.

“When we first opened some restaurants at The Yards, there were only a few and not many people knew about it. We were looking for ways to bring people down for the colder winter months, so we thought, ‘If people are gonna stand around outside in the cold, we have to make it an ice-themed event,'” she added.

Once again, The Yards is partnering with Special Olympics D.C. for the Polar Bear Plunge.

“You’re not plunging into the Anacostia,” Fredrick said. “They bring a pool down, so there’s a pool that sits on the boardwalk right next to the river and that’s what you’re plunging into. You’re just basically going through the motions of plunging into cold water in cold weather and raising money for the Special Olympics.”

After the plunge, you can warm up by taking a shot of liquor off D.C.’s longest shot-ski at 3 p.m.

“We took this away during COVID for obvious reasons, but we are bringing it back,” Fredrick said. “We have the longest shot-ski that we know of in D.C. Anyone who wants to participate who’s over 21, of course, can! … It’s actually exactly what it sounds like: it is a ski with shot glasses inside of the ski, so you just line up all the way down the boardwalk and everyone does a shot of a very low-proof alcohol just for fun, it’s more ceremonial.”

As always, there are tons of winter-themed games and activities, including the snowboard simulator.

“Hop on a snowboard and it simulates as if you’re snowboarding down a mountain … you strap your feet on … but it is attached to an inflatable bottom, so if you fall off, you don’t get hurt,” Fredrick said. “Ax throwing we’ve had for the past three or four years and it’s always really popular. … Penguin bowling is just bowling on our boardwalk but we’ll have little penguins instead of pins. … The Olympics are coming back this year, so you can do [iceless] curling.”

In between these physical activities, you can mix and mingle at various cozy fire pits.

“We have some really fun food pop-ups,” Fredrick said. “Agua 301 will be on site with a hot chocolate bar with tons of special toppings. … Due South will be on site with a fondue station … Ice Cream Jubilee is going to be out there with ice cream, cookies and special seasonal flavors. I never think it’s too cold for ice cream! And Osteria Morini will be on site offering to-go tiramisu. … There’s live music for most of the event, then we have a DJ for one hour.”

Through it all, be sure to dress up for tons of Instagrammable moments and photo booths.

“You’re gonna find so many fun Aprés ski-themed photo moments,” Fredrick said. “People love to have fun posing like they’re skiing. … Our theme this year is Aprés Chic, so we are encouraging our guests to dress the part. Just think post-snow-day party with snow jackets, ski goggles and beanies. Last year, people really got creative with it.”

Tickets are $15, which includes a drink ticket at a $5 donation to the Special Olympics.

Find more information here.

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

Listen to our full conversation here.

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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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