Driving 10-15 minutes for a workout is frustrating, and we strive to avoid this necessity. But you must see this place to believe it! Pulling into the ample and free parking lot, this athletic center could easily be mistaken for an NBA arena. Our first thought was, "Why is this place so enormous?"
Once inside we were blown away by 4 acres of recreation space that includes an ice skating rink, gymnasium and pool, all in an architecturally stunning space. Natural light spills in via plentiful skylights and windows, art hangs from the 57-foot ceiling and Santa Fe's beautiful landscape is visible throughout. Like most community centers, Chavez was designed as a venue for people to gather. With its more than 350,000 visitors each year, it is a roaring success.
In the Center's core, between the ice rink and lap pool, exercisers sweat using the moderate supply of satisfying cardio and strength machines. All modalities are covered and most of the cardio equipment is made by LifeFitness. Those looking to get strong can choose from an even better variety of equipment including 10 Life Fitness stack-loaded weight stations, plenty of free weights and a wide assortment of dumbbells.
The indoor 8-lane, 50-meter competition quality lap pool with its 50 foot high ceiling (separate kids' pool with water slide) is fantastic. Even better is that most of the time this fabulous lapper is configured for long course swimming, a rare treat for water worshippers. We do not use the term "competition quality" lightly, so expect the best of everything.
A welcome respite from hot August days, the NHL size skating arena, complete with stadium seating and skate rentals, is open year-round. Chavez's endless facility also contains 3 basketball courts, a 1/10 mile indoor jogging track, 2 glass racquetball courts and an aerobics/spinning studio.
Community center? Where are we, Beverly Hills? At $7, this bargain admission makes it quite clear we are nowhere near 90210.
Note: Keep in mind that at 7,000 ft elevation, Santa Fe's thin air will make a moderate workout difficult.