Muscovites take a spin on Europe’s largest skating rink

As the winter slowly but surely takes a grip on the Russian capital, Moscow’s Gorky Park has opened its legendary ice-skating rink.

The 15,000 square-meter rink – the largest in Europe – is over two football pitches big and has room for thousands of skating enthusiasts. The main rink takes the shape of a giant rectangle, unlike the traditional oval.

“It’s important to value our heritage, our legacy but to give it a more modern or contemporary feeling,” Ekaterina Kibovskaya, curator of arts in Gorky Park, told RT. “And I would say that ice is a symbol of Russia in a way.”

Apart from the main field, there is a special space for kids and a mini-stadium for hockey players.

The park also offer special ice fitness sessions for both adults and children under the supervision of figure skater Anastasia Grebyonkina. While the kids enjoy a set of ice games, their parents can stretch their muscles.

“I think that for professionals this form of rink is like a dream, because usually you want to move a lot on the rinks and there’s not enough space,” Grebyonkina told RT. “It’s so great that you can skate on all these small and big roads, almost everywhere in the park!”

Although the rink cost the city over $1 million, the entrance fees are quite modest: 150-200 rubles ($5-7). The rink is open every day from 10am to 11pm. You can also rent skates, with over 4,000 brand new pairs available at $7 per hour.

The skating season will last until mid-spring. Mild temperatures will not be a problem, as the ice is artificial. The special Austrian technology lays the ice directly on top of mats filled with small pipes. Through these pipes run cold water and non-toxic anti-freeze. Since the ice lies directly on top of its cooling source, it saves energy and makes it possible to skate during the spring.

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