Ice skating in the height of summer? For the Delhiites, it’s a yes

A spiral in ice skating involves extending a free leg behind the body so that it reaches hip height in a straight line. “Death spiral” has two partners who turn around each other, taking turns to lower themselves onto the ice. In a “shotgun spin”, a free leg is helped upward by the ankle; it almost looks like pointing a gun. And let’s not forget all the delicate footwork with a sequence of edges, turns and jumps.

Ice skating has an elegant library of terms to identify its many brilliant moves. Watching skaters glide effortlessly across the rink in perfect control as they cut the cleanest circles on the ice is pure poetry in motion. The American poet E. E. Cummings once wrote of skating, “Ice glint and steely glint, Jolly, brisk weather; Glide on ice and zealous joy, All alone together.”

On a scorching Sunday in late March, you would least expect to think of those terms when you enter a large, busy shopping center in Gurugram. But such is the oasis that is iSkate by Roseate amidst a dust storm that is ready for the Delhi-NCR summer.

Black-clad trainers glide gently down a giant ice rink inside the Ambience mall where iSkate is perched on the 6th floor. Imagining a state-of-the-art ice rink inside a shopping mall, used by both serious athletes and shoppers, might seem a bit of a stretch at first, but iSkate by Roseate is India’s only all-weather indoor ice rink, and also the largest on natural ice at around 15,000 square feet.

It is leading the pack in promoting winter games like figure skating, speed skating and ice hockey. And iSkate also promises to be one of the best bets for cooling off this summer beyond ice packs and cold showers.

Since re-opening in October last year, fully equipped with a co-working space and a lavish patisserie cafe, Roasted by Roseate, iSkate will now offer ice hockey training to anyone who might be interested in practicing. this sport.

“It’s a unique program in India. You don’t learn ice hockey easily. Especially if you live in the plains. It’s not a common sport in India and it’s very difficult to find ice hockey training all year round. But iSkate is the only place in India where you can find ice hockey training all year round. And this summer, in addition to ongoing training programs, we will open it up to people who might be interested in ice hockey just so they can start playing,” says Karan Rai, Business Leader at iSkate by Roseate.

“The training will be delivered by national level coaches and former players associated with the Indian Ice Hockey Association,” Rai said. Prices are expected to start at Rs1,200 per session.

iSkate has held events such as National Figure Skating Championships, tryouts, and practices in the past, and frequently invites Olympian coaches from countries like Korea, Austria, Canada, Australia, and Russia to teach the basics. figure skating, long and short skating.

“The Winter Games are still something that has enormous potential, but needs constant growth. By being located in a shopping centre, the recreational, as well as the community aspect of an ice rink is respected. You are in a setting where you have the footsteps and get people more interested in the sport. That’s not possible in a stand-alone rink,” says Rai, emphasizing why locating the rink in a mall makes perfect sense on the commercial plan given the high maintenance costs.

The iSkate rink, a unit of Bird Hospitality Services, is 30 meters by 80 meters. It can accommodate up to 150 skaters at any one time. A typical day at iSkate sees 400-500 people pass through on weekdays and 700 on weekends. One hour of ice skating costs Rs800 per person.

“We have been operating iSkate since December 2011. It was closed for refurbishment during the pandemic, during which time an Indian team worked on rebuilding the rink. Otherwise, we usually have experts who come from Canada and the United States” says Rai, who has been at the forefront of building winter games infrastructure in India for more than a decade now.

“It is very difficult to maintain an ice rink in India because it is very hot. There is a lot of humidity, which forms clouds that rise, hit the ceiling and rain. The ice rink is then damaged. It so there’s a perfect balance required between the air and the refrigeration unit. It’s a complete ecosystem inside,” says Rai. He also wants to build world-class ice rinks in other metropolitan cities, so to tap into the wealth of winter sports enthusiasts.

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