By: Hema D
Photo by: Lalit Kumar
For the adventurous lot of old and young of Shimla winters have never been just about sun soaking and street cricket…. venturing further into the territory of nature they beat it out at the nearly century old Shimla Ice Skating Club.
Running almost one month behind its schedule of starting the skating sessions, November 15, the club this year received skaters on December 12. The first spell of snow followed by clear night sky (congenial for freezing) finally ended the wait of nearly 500 desperate skaters.
The first day of the skating session was ruled by the kids who had lined up at the rink since early morning and later returned in the evening session too. And as the word spreads around the coming days would see young as well as old professional skaters coming here. The club would see more activity this season with a 15 day training camp commencing on December 23, where an Austrian coach would impart professional skills that are popular worldwide. The camp is likely to be attended by skaters from all over the country.
Taking note of the climatic uncertainty that has of late begun to mar the professional sessions at the rink, the Club has finally decided to shed its identity of being one of its kind of a “semi natural” rink in South East Asia and switch over to mechanised freezing. Bhavnesh Banga, Secretary of the Club informs that a proposal for setting up an electric refrigeration plant at rink has been submitted to Sports Authority of India. If all goes well and we get the equipment, next season onwards we would not have to entirely depend upon the weather. With the help of the refrigeration plant the session would start from November 15 up to March 15.
Presently, the rink at Lakkar Bazaar uses the traditional method of freezing ice where water is sprayed on the floor during the night. The rest is left to the nature… a cloudless night means the skating would be on next morning. And if there is still a speck of doubt then look for the red balloon soaring over the Town Hall on the Mall Road, which is used as a signal by the administration to inform that the session is on.