Creating ice for hockey and ice skating isn’t as simple as pouring water on the ground and waiting for it to freeze. Achieving a perfect flat consistency involves successively pouring and leveling thin layers of chilled saltwater (which has a lower freezing temperature than fresh water) over a period of several days. Before that, the water must be purified to remove oxygen and trace minerals – two elements that can make the ice too hard or too soft to skate on.
In Beijing, only one center can lay claim to having an ice rink designed by CIMCO Refrigeration, the Canadian company responsible for installing 80 percent of the National Hockey League’s (NHL) facilities. That center is Le Cool in Guomao. Cheesy name aside, the 800sqm ice rink uses environmentally-friendly CIMCO technology that saves on energy costs and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Luckily for winter babies, Le Cool can be booked for birthday parties. A full day (9am-10pm) costs RMB 15,000 without any limits on the number of attendees. A one-hour party costs RMB 1,800 and includes skate rentals; these can only take place outside regular opening hours. The guest limit may vary according to age; call Le Cool for details.
Birthday parties aren’t supervised, but instructors can be booked for an extra RMB 690 (up to ten students). All ice skating coaches are certified by the US-based Ice Skating Institute (ISI), a trade association that oversees all aspects of the ice skating industry. English speakers are available, according to the front desk. Note that birthday parties must be booked at least a week in advance.
Self-catering is your best option. Though the rink is located in the basement of China World Mall, there are few dining options around – or, indeed, anything other than luxury clothing stores and high-end chocolate shops. However, The Sweet Spot by China World has three locations within the mall, offering cakes and a wide variety of other sweet and savory baked goods.
Le Cool 国贸溜冰场
Regular admission: RMB 30 (Mon-Sun 10am-6pm), RMB 40 (Mon-Thu 6-10pm), RMB 50 (Fri-Sun 6-10pm). All prices
reflect 90 minutes of skating time. RMB Daily 10am-10pm. B2/F, China World Shopping Mall, 1 Jianguomenwai Dajie, Chaoyang District (6505 5776) 朝阳区建国门外大街1号国贸地下2层 www.lecoolicerink.com
Photos: courtesy of Zeus
This article originally appeared on page 16-17 of the beijingkids December 2015 issue. Click here to read the issue for free on Issuu.com. To find out how you can get your own copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org