The Newz Radar
SHIMLA: Ice skating, a major attraction winter of Shimla during winter months, may soon be a year-round event if an ambitious plan of the authorities looking after the sport takes root.
The authorities at the ice skating rink below Rivoli near the Mall Road believe that extending the rink’s operations throughout the year would bring significant benefits, including an increase in tourist numbers. As Shimla attracts a large number of visitors during the summer holiday season, the rink management is optimistic about drawing more tourists during this period. An official said they were hopeful they would receive government approval to operate year-round.
The ice skating rink in Shimla has long been a popular attraction, especially during the winter months when the region experiences sub-zero temperature. However, the rink has historically closed during the summer season due to warmer weather. This decision would cater to both local enthusiasts and tourists seeking a unique and thrilling experience in Shimla.
In winters, a red balloon hanging on the top of Town Hall Building in the heart of the city indicated that skating session is on but after the renovation of the building, the practice was stopped and messages were sent to the members on a WhatsApp group.
Clear sky with low temperatures during winter with minimum temperatures staying below 4 to 5 degrees Celsius is pre-requisite for ice skating.
Incidentally, 2020 was the centenary year of the club, established in 1920, but there were no celebrations and festivities and even the regular features like Gymkhana and carnival had to be skipped due to the Covid pandemic.
The membership charges for adults and juniors for fortnight to full season range from Rs 1,700 to Rs 3,000 and Rs 900 to Rs 1,800, respectively. Casual staking charges per session for tourists are Rs 300. Skates are available for members at Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,500 with a security deposit of Rs 3,000.
The season normally starts in the last week of November or early December. There are about 300 regular members of the club. Earlier, the minimum number of 12 sessions of ice skating were held in 1972 while the maximum 118 were held in 1996-97.
The history of the club dates back to 1920 when tennis courts were converted into a natural ice skating rink by Irish military official Blessington. In the winter months, when he sprinkled water on the tennis court to settle the grass, it froze within seconds and he immediately thought of converting the arena into an ice skating rink.