Los Angelenos long have boasted about Southern California's easy
accessibility to the various wonders of nature. An hour's drive in
one direction, they can be heard intoning, and you can be ogling
the denizens of Venice beach, an hour the other way and you can be
skiing the San Gabriels.
This, of course, is not true. The only distance you can travel
in an L.A. hour is the stretch of the 405 that runs from Sunset
Boulevard to LAX, which, frankly, has always been my favorite L.A.
Soon, though, the glories of nature -- or pretty good imitations
of them, which, in L.A., is even better than the real thing -- will
be close by and under one roof. The Gotcha Glacier, 435,000-square
feet of glassed in thrills, chills and spills is set to open in
The Orange County complex will feature the country's first
indoor artificial ski slope, an ice-skating rink, six surfing
pools, snowboarding and, of course, skateboarding parks -- this is,
after all, SoCal.
I must admit, it sounds like fun. And anyway, we have a pretty
similar deal here in New York with Chelsea Piers, a humongous
entertainment complex built on the Hudson river. But then, we live
in a concrete maze. Southern California, while few people go there
for the museums, is lousy with natural beauty. Why bottle it