Shimla Ice-Skating rink opens for skaters


    The Shimla Ice Skating Rink was today opened for the skaters beginning the session. The Secretary of Ice Skating Club looking after the venue Mr. Bhuvnesh Banga told Himvani that with formation of thick layer of ice on the surface first regular session of the season began today. It is one of the three natural Ice Skating Rink in the world, set up in 1920 and its door for the skaters was set open as the thick layer of ice formed naturally on the leveled surface with declining of Mercury to freezing point, he said.


    The Skaters who have were keen to begin the session were happy to see as red balloon rose in the sky over roof of the Shimla Municipal Corporation building on Tuesday for the first time, signaling the opening of ice-skating rink. Mr. Banga said that surfacing of ice started forming four days back however they allowed to open it with formation of widely spread coat of ice in the entire rink. He attributed the late winter for delay in session owing to lack of natural ice formation however it would last till February.


    Shimla town recorded low by 6.9 degrees Celsius today, however the Ice Skating Rink is located in shady and cold area in the town and the thick sheet of ice naturally forms here during nights on which skaters slide here in two sessions in the morning and evening. The skating club holds two sessions a day i.e. 0800 hours to 1100 hours and 1730 hours to 2000 hours depending upon the ice formation.


    On the first of the session, there were 30-35 skaters, said club organizers. The club authorities sprinkle water on the clay ground of the open-air rink which freezes under natural conditions in the night. If the sky is cloudy, the minimum temperature normally rises, resulting in thawing of ice. The congenial average minimum and maximum temperature for ice formation ranges from 4 to 5 degrees Celsius and 8 to 10 degrees Celsius, respectively.


    The idea of a natural skating rink was developed by an Irish military official named Blessington who lived in Shimla. He had inadvertently kept a bucket of water outside his residence and in the morning found it had frozen. That gave him the idea of a
    skating rink and he created a small one of his own in 1920. Three such ice skating rinks are there in Shimla of Himachal, Gulmarg of Jammu and Kashmir and Switzerland, he added.



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    ML Verma is a Senior journalist, with more than a decade of experience of active reporting for electronic media, news agencies and fast paced online media.

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