Header images courtesy of Hong Kong Curling Academy (via Facebook)
There is a certain allure to the idea of blades gliding over a frozen lake, your breath white in the crisp air; or skis flying down the snow-draped hillside, leaving your tracks in the wintry landscape. In a city with a subtropical climate, Hong Kong’s temperature never quite drops enough for frost and flakes, but a part of us always fantasises when the season turns, sometimes taking us onto a plane halfway across the world to realise our winter dreams.
That is not to say it is not possible here at home. Within its capacity, Hong Kong brings winter sports to indoor ice and slopes. From skating, hockey, and curling at rinks, to skiing and snowboarding in simulation and virtual reality facilities, a wide range of experiences is right on our doorsteps. Can’t travel to a wintry destination? Keep an eye out for these places in Hong Kong where you can have a taste of winter sports made for the season.
As the only rink on Hong Kong Island and the oldest in the city, Ice Palace has been a favourite haunt of skating lovers for over three decades. After a renovation a few years ago, it reopened with a brand-new look and upgraded facilities. While retaining its old charm, Ice Palace now boasts self-serviced ticket and skate rental counters, as well as an activity room for stretching and other off-ice routines to accompany the action in skates. The revamp also brings back the rink’s signature rink-side restaurant—visitors can now stop for a bite at &BTR while still in their gear, before returning to the ice for leisure or to up their skills.
Ice Palace, 1/F, Cityplaza, 18 Taikoo Shing Road, Taikoo Shing | (+852) 2844 8688
Dragon Centre, and Sky Rink alongside its amusement arcade, are deeply embedded in the collective memory of those who have frequented the Sham Shui Po area since 1994. With cheap all-day public skating sessions, 1990s décor, and an indoor rollercoaster that overlooks the rink, Sky Rink has just the right dash of nostalgia. Those who visit today may find the tracks near the ceiling no longer traversed due to safety concerns, but blades cross the ice still, under the careful tutelage of figure skating and ice hockey coaches alike.
Sky Rink, 8/F, Dragon Centre, 37K Yen Chow Street, Sham Shui Po | (+852) 2307 9264
Ice is slippery, say even elite athletes. But never fear—for beginner skaters, The Rink’s animal-shaped handrails are always there to lend a helping paw or flipper. Priding itself on the use of energy-saving technology in its construction and ice maintenance, The Rink has an environment at once family-friendly and environmentally friendly. Its pay-as-you-skate system, charged by the minute via Octopus card, is a Hong Kong first designed for the convenience of visitors. If you are hungering for more, here you will get lessons in not only hockey and single skating, but also ice dancing, a discipline in which you will learn to trace patterns and lift your partners on ice.
The Rink, G/F, Elements, 1 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2196 8016
Skating in Hong Kong with harbour sights for your eyes to feast on? Yep, right at Mega Ice. Built next to glass windows that span the entire length of the rink, Mega Ice is accompanied by stunning views of Kowloon Bay—and it is a lot, as the rink was until recently the largest in the city. For years, Mega Ice alone fulfilled the International Skating Union’s standards for both figure skating and hockey competitions, and thus often hosted international events. Its size means it is equally favoured by casual skaters seeking ease, players who would like more room to swing their hockey sticks, and not least of all those inclined towards the group sport of synchronised skating.
Mega Ice, Unit 1, Level 10, MegaBox, 38 Wang Chiu Road, Kowloon Bay. (+852) 2709 4021
At the end of last year, Lantau Island welcomed its first rink in the green-shrouded resort setting of Discovery Bay. Surpassing Mega Ice in size, DB Ice Rink aims to be yet another hub for skating, with a professional coaching team to take you from basic stroking to spirals, axels, and biellmann spins. Its very own ice hockey locker rooms cater to the needs of hockey players with their gear, a much-appreciated complement to its NHL standard program. One thing is for sure—there is considerable anticipation for DB Ice Rink’s official opening to the public and its future use as a competition-cum-performance venue.
DB Ice Rink, G/F, Block C, DB Plaza, Discovery Bay, Lantau Island. (+852) 2234 0187
Look no further than Glacier for the start of your career in winter sports! The rink's beloved ice has nurtured its share of Hong Kong’s world class athletes. It is here, in fact, that the Hong Kong Figure Skating Championships takes place year after year, to the delight of spectators. In for more unusual on-ice activities beyond skating? Glacier offers those too. In the gaze of the Lion Rock through rink side windows, try out short track speed skating and curling for a change.
The Glacier, U/G, Festival Walk, 80 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong | (+852) 2844 3588
Sure, the Hong Kong Curling Academy may not have its own designated training location, but this is where you enter the mysterious world of curling. Rotating through available venues, the Academy organises a variety of activities for the public to become familiarised with curling brooms and stones. Naturally, their “Learn to Curl” programme attracts those who would like to test themselves on ice; also available are courses in floor curling—an off-ice variation that can be practised in community halls and schools as an introduction to the sport.
Hong Kong Curling Academy, Unit B5, 9/F, Mai Gar Industrial Building, 146 Wai Yip Street, Kwun Tong | (+852) 2370 3272
Can’t be bothered to travel to do all of your favourite outdoor sports? If surfing and skiing are on that list, just head to Snow & Surf instead, where you can do both on the same day, at the same place. At this newly opened sports centre, state-of-the-art belt machines and individual ski slopes are finished in the same patented material used at the US Ski Team’s summer training facility, allowing you to test out your best moves on the best “dry snow.” Where better to go for a (virtual) snow-filled day out?
Snow & Surf, 2/F, Shui Sum Industrial Building, 453 Castle Peak Road, Kwai Chung
But for the lack of snow, all about Slope Infinity’s skiing and snowboarding experiences are real. Here, visitors step onto a revolving carpet in real skis, real ski boots, or with real snowboards and other standard equipment. The simulator—assisted by mirrors for form-checking—helps develop muscle memory through recreating the experience of sporting in a natural environment. Learn to balance and steer on these infinity slopes, whether or not there is a snowy holiday on the horizon.
Slope Infinity, 1/F, 148 Electric Road, North Point | (+852) 2107 4567
To speed down the resort hills or to try yourself on the Olympics tracks, that is the question. Ski Tech’s virtual reality projectors present visitors with an array of tracks to choose to ski or snowboard down. All you need do is strap on the necessary gear and step on a motion platform, set up with motion sensors and motors to generate the appropriate sensations. The simulator, tested and proven by athletes including the US National Team, will get you the rest of the way.
Ski Tech, Room 922–923, One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang | (+852) 2177 0008