Ice skating dates back to being one of the most sought after winter pastimes in history. An energetic way to get exercise, ice skating was possible only on frozen rivers and lakes. But now non-natural indoor skating rinks with artificial cooling are being created, which brings a much sought after relief to the scorching heat in UAE.
Abu Dhabi, famous for its soaring temperatures, has ice rinks right in the heart of the desert--the most popular being Abu Dhabi ice rink and ice-skating rink at the Al Ain Mall.
The Abu Dhabi Ice Rink has an olympic-size international standard ice rink which caters to ice hockey training and matches in addition to ice skating lessons. The Abu Dhabi Ice Rink was developed as a stand-alone facility in 1987 and is capable of hosting major sports and entertainment events and enjoys a seating capacity of 1,200. Figure skating has been a featured activity at the Abu Dhabi Ice Rink for more than 10 years.
The Abu Dhabi Tourist Club also hosts a modest ice rink.
With almost eight months in the year with temperatures above 40 degrees, ice skating in Dubai is gaining immense popularity. The desert city is slowly transforming itself into a great place for ice skating with its wonderfully created ice skating rinks and clubs.
The Al Nasr Leisureland and Galleria at Hyatt Regency Hotel are two of the well-known places for ice skating in Dubai, where woolen coats and skates can be hired.
The Galleria Ice Rink is one of Dubai's longest running winter-sports venues. The cost at the Galleria ice rink is AED 25 for a three and a half hour session.
The Al Nasr Leisureland at Al Nasr Club in Oud Meth (near Karama) offers ice hockey in addition to ice skating. The annual membership fee at Al Nasr Club is AED 850-1600 for ice skating, or a AED 10-15 for 2 hour session plus AED 5 for skate hire.
But the highlight of ice skating in Dubai is the olympic-sized rink in the Dubai Mall, Downtown Burj Khalifa. Located in the comforts of a climate-controlled environment, the rink facilitates social skating, school visits and private parties with its disco nights and afternoons, and has a variety of sports activities.
The ice rink’s multi-purpose venue, uses refrigeration plant technology by developing 1.5 inches (38 mm) of ice bed, almost 3 times the thickness of an NHL ice rink. Dubai ice rink can host a capacity of up to 2,000 guests, when converted into a multi-functional hall with a multimedia system including a 20 m × 10 m LED screen. The advanced technology used at the Dubai ice rink ensures that the consistency of the ice-bed is maintained at all times. By incorporating the refrigerator technology of pushing in glycol through a network of pipes, and monitoring the cooling over a period of five to six days, the ice-bed is tailored to withstand multiple activities. Learn-to-Skate with its five progressive levels is designed for beginners to either perfect their skills or to just gain more confidence on ice. The ice rink also has group classes, with one instructor for 10 people, costing AED 500 per person for 5 half-hour classes, semi-private classes with one instructor for two to five people costing AED 120 per person for a half-hour lesson, and individual classes with one instructor costing AED 150 for a half-hour lesson.
Dubai Ice Rink Class timings : 4.45 PM to 5.30 PM on weekdays && 10.15 AM to 5.30 PM on weekends
A new attraction for the younger admirers of ice skating are the `Penguins Pals’--the skating aids at Dubai Ice Rink. The Penguin Pals ensures a correct skating stance, and have handles on either side of their heads helping to get a tight grip. The Penguin Pals can be hired for AED 25 per hour. The Dubai ice rink has a toddlers package, and packages for groups of 15 or for 50 or more people. The ice rink also introduces Broomball, a fun and exhilarating sport, where one does not have to wear skates, but put on special straps on their sneakers. Special programmes for schools are also introduced in the Dubai ice rink, where they can have a half an hour peek at the behind-the-scenes look at how an ice rink works.
Other highlights of the ice rink are the figure skating champions who give training to those interested. The ice rink has groomed a lot of aspiring ice hockey players as many ice hockey teams from countries around the world take part in Ice Hockey Leagues & Championships organized by the Hockey Federation of The UAE. The ice rink is also available for children’s birthday packages.
Other ice rinks in Dubai are the ones at Arabian Plaza shopping mall in Mirdiff, and at Stargate, which has a modest size rink in the Lunar Dome with its night-scape polar scenery and lighting.
Ice rinks are also being planned in Dubai Sports City and in Snowdome in the multi-billion project called Dubailand, covering an area of 1.4 million sq. ft, which will make Dubai one of the most sought after ice skating destinations.
Ice rinks in other Emirates are the ones at
An ice rink is also being planned at the Wow Rak shopping mall in Ras Al Khaimah.