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[The Enthusiast]

A frosty shake amid a Strip-side wonderland

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Who needs snow when you can have real ice and the cool of the Cosmo?
Photo: Denise Truscello
Molly O'Donnell

The Details

Cosmopolitan ice skating
Through January 20; Monday-Friday, 3–11 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. (December 24-January 4, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.)
$10-15 all-day skate, $5 skate rental, admission to rink area is free.

I love to talk, so you can only imagine how thrilled I am by the chance to bend local ears on the regular in this new column. In each installment, I’ll share my experiences and thoughts on the goings-on across our Valley, from the out of the ordinary to the just plain cool.

One thing we don’t usually have around here: snow. If you’ve lived anywhere cold, I don’t have to tell you how electric and magical everything seems on that first snow day. When those tiny flakes dance from the sky, even crappy old trash cans look like Christmastime set pieces.

This year, I can’t really complain about Las Vegas’ lack of snow, and I have the Cosmopolitan to thank for that. The Strip resort has opened up a winter wonderland, complete with an ice rink, at its Boulevard Pool. Just when I thought the Cosmo—my home away from home, with all its indie acts and delicious food—couldn’t be cooler, it made me realize what I’ve really been missing is “winteriness,” not snow, specifically. The smell of fireplaces ablaze. Seeing your breath roll away from your face in white clouds. The way the sky looks crystalline. Basically, the feeling of being inside a snow globe.

The ice rink is a clear slab of heaven in the middle of our desert, a square block of winter hovering above the Strip. I skated past glittering fire pits and families gorging on s’mores, the fireside treats culled from ingredients in paper containers shaped like Chinese takeaway boxes, and marshmallows roasted on arm-length wooden skewers. Kids sipped hot cocoa, while the grown-ups had theirs spiked with Jameson for an extra $10. Strip booze prices don’t change even in winter wonderlands.

It wasn’t overly crowded, so you could easily grab a spot by the fire and watch if you weren’t into busting your butt on the ice. I chose to skate, a big decision since the last time I skated, I fell down so many times a 5-year-old in a tutu asked if I needed help. Coming away black and blue after a lifetime as a decent skater hurt my pride more than my knees, but in my heart I knew it was the bad rental skates and not my skills. Proof came Friday night at the Cosmo, as I sped by timid wall-huggers and never took a single spill.

This time of year makes us nostalgic for the things we grew up with, cold winter nights or not. Locals tend not to be fans of the simulacra we see along so much of the Strip—the Venetian gondolas gliding under a trompe l’oeil sky, the miniature cities of New York and Paris, the historical re-creations of Pharaoh’s tomb. Perhaps it’s that we’ve grown too accustomed to surreal interpretations of other places and times. Or maybe it’s that we’re tired of seeing our city through the eyes of others and don’t like being scrutinized as a novelty, the way someone might shake a snow globe. Every once in a while, though, being a Las Vegan affords us opportunities for escapism others don’t get: like the chance to relive childhood, by skating around an ice rink atop the Strip.

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