Sunday, December 13, 2009

Skating in a Wintery Wonderland

Ever since I saw people skating on the lakes at Houhai two years ago I wanted to skate outdoors too.

But global warming prevented me from doing it last year, at it never really got cold enough for it to be safe to skate there.

This year temperatures haven't really dropped, hovering around 6 degrees Celsius during the day the last few weeks.

So yesterday I did the second best thing, which was to head to the skating rink with a few friends.

We headed to Solana Mall (蓝色港湾), next to Chaoyang Park on the west side. And at the back of the open-concept mall, up on the the first floor is the All Star Ice Rink, a decent 800 square meter area opened by 1999 Asian Games figure skating champion Wang Rui and Li Ning, of the sportswear fame and most recently lit the torch at the Beijing Games.

On a Saturday afternoon it was busy, not too packed; the sidelines were mostly filled with parents watching their kids learning to skate with instructors or with friends. For 50RMB ($7.32) you can get free skate rentals and skate as much as you want for an hour and a half. There are also small lockers to rent for 1RMB to store your shoes, bags and coats.

The skates themselves are nothing to write home about. For some reason, even the women's skates are black, the mens' skates are like figure skates which my friends thought was weird. When laced up the skates weren't particularly comfortable, but we're not buying skates anytime soon. Next time I'll wear thicker socks.

Not having skated in a while, I was a bit anxious stepping out onto the ice at first. It took a while for me to get used to skating -- pushing off and then gliding -- and by the time an hour flew by I was in my element again.

On the whole the kids weren't obnoxious and minded everyone else on the ice, except for one boy who apparently cut right into my friend who had to swerve to avoid him. Another friend whose Chinese was good went over to try to tell the kid that was dangerous, but he just laughed and skated away.

Nevertheless, we had a good workout. When we walked out of the mall, it was already dark and the mall was lit up with perhaps thousands of LED lights, creating a wintery wonderland with a festive spirit.

Although my thighs are still tired from skating, I'm looking forward to skating again soon -- outdoors.

All Star Ice Rink
1/F, Solana Lifestyle Shopping Park
6 Chaoyang Gongyuan Lu
Chaoyang District
5905 6328

1 comment:

ks said...

in downtown vancouver the robson square ice ring reopened about two weeks ago after a year or two refurbishing. it is free. byos -bring your own skates.