Heels together, toes apart, bend your knees a little, now take tiny steps, very tiny ones...just like a penguin does on ice...” Learning how to skate on ice is a little like learning to walk like a penguin, or so the instructors at the just-opened ice skating rink iSkate, Ambience Mall, Gurgaon, would have you believe. If you have tried your hand at roller skating, this will be a piece of cake. If you have not, perhaps now is the time to sign up for those lessons too.
The good stuff
As you waddle across the pristine white 36x14m surface, taking the tiniest steps possible on the skates, you cannot help but be thankful that the rink provides one-on-one training sessions with any of three skating instructors (for a fee, of course—Rs300 for 15 minutes). At any given point, there are four-eight marshals keeping an eye out for those who might find it hard to navigate the rink on their own.
The iSkate rink is open 10am-10pm on weekdays and 10am-10.30pm on weekends and holidays, and since it has a café which will do breakfast specials, it is a great way to start your weekend before the shoppers take over.
The penguin-shaped skating aids for children are really cute and handy, and allow the tots to get on to the ice right away without hanging on to the railings or waiting for an instructor to take them for a spin.
Richard Rowland, the manager of the rink, says it will be resurfaced six times every day since a pristine surface reduces the chances of accidents. “Not many people are used to ice skating, so we have decided to resurface six times even though internationally rinks do it twice at most in a day. Each resurfacing session takes about 15 minutes.”
The instructors and marshals help people with lacing up the skates. And for those who do not have socks to wear with skates, the rink has pairs on sale for Rs50.
There is no equipment to measure your shoe size so that you get the right size of skates. Your best bet is to play guessing games or hand your shoes across the counter and wait for the instructor to carry on playing guessing games. Besides, it is a little tacky to hand your shoes over the counter when they have to be put in the cubicle where your skates come from.
We know Delhi cannot survive without Bhangra Rock and all other kinds of Punjabi music, but the deejays need to seriously rethink blaring these tracks back-to-back. Also, the music is so loud that it is tough to hear what the instructor is saying.
Helmets are not compulsory. Rowland claims that the international ice skating federation does not deem it necessary, but perhaps helmets should be made mandatory for young children or should be available on hire. Rowland says that in a couple of months they will open a merchandising arm where skating equipment, including helmets, will be sold.
You can sign up for a five-week course (which includes once-a-week, half-hour sessions in a group with an instructor and one-and-a-half hours on the rink) for Rs2,500. A 2-hour session on the rink (minus lessons) costs Rs300 on weekdays and Rs400 on weekends and includes ice skates. For children, you can hire a penguin-shaped skating aid for an additional Rs150.