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It's Not Because of Climate Change That You Can Ice Skate in the Desert

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  Site Where: 3800 W. Starr Pass Blvd. [map], Tucson, AZ, United States, 85745
December 10, 2009 at 9:39 AM | by | ()

The JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa may be smack-dab in the Sonoran Desert, but the hotel isn't letting the arid climate stop it from ushering the holidays with a winter wonderland complete with a 30-foot tree, sledding and ice skating.

The hotel will open Arctic Pass, an outdoor 1,500-square-foot synthetic ice rink and the first of its kind in Southern Arizona, when it kicks off its wintertime festivities on December 18. Santa will be in attendance, ditching the reindeer and arriving by helicopter at 8:30 p.m. After posing for pictures with the guy in the big red suit, hit the ice.

The ice rink will be available through February 15, daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., for hotel guests. It will be open to the public January 8 to 10, 15 to 17 and 22 to 24. Since the ice is synthetic, regular skates aren't allowed; rentals cost $8 and $5 for kids. If you dine at one of the resort's restaurants for lunch or dinner, you'll get a $3 skate rental coupon for each entree or kid's meal purchased as part of Star Pass's Skate & Dine deal.

All weekend long, you also can sled down Starr Circle Hill—which will be covered with fake snow—at the resort's main entrance.

To make the most of the resort's festivities, you may want to try the Winter Wonderland Weekend Package, good from December 18 to 20. The package includes all the weekend activities, unlimited skating, a complimentary sled and a room for $179 per night. Some activities, such as Santa's workshop, family portraits and character breakfasts, will require a nominal fee.

[Photo: JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa]

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