As winter finally hits our sub-tropical city, it’s time to put away our shorts and swimsuits for a few months. But that doesn’t mean we can’t stay active. Here are four winter sports that are perfect for the change in temperature, and are available to try right on your doorstep.
Before the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics aired on TV, most Hongkongers had never heard of curling. Many were intrigued by this niche game, watching as the curlers threw stones across a sheet of ice towards a scoring area, while their teammates used a curling broom to sweep the ice in front of the stone.
Although most viewers in Hong Kong did not understand the scoring system, they were eager to try this entertaining Olympic event themselves. Some creative netizens even tried to play at home, using makeshift equipment such as a kettle and a broom.
Shortly after the Winter Games, the Hong Kong Curling Association was formed. It officially became a member of the World Curling Federation in 2016.
As part of its “Come and Try” programme, the Hong Kong Curling Academy holds regular beginner’s classes to promote the sport. It costs HK$350 for 90 minutes and all of the equipment is provided. Just show up in clothes that are both easy to move in and will keep you warm on the ice. You can find the class schedule on the academy’s Facebook page.
Hong Kong Curling Academy – Facebook: @H.K.CurlingAcademy, Tel: 2370 3272 WhatsApp: 9856 2933/ 9793 2640
Figure skating / Speed skating
As most ice rinks in Hong Kong are inside shopping centres, stopping to watch figure skaters glide and spin elegantly over the ice has become a regular pastime for weekend shoppers.
This has helped to make figure skating the most popular form of skating in the city.
A wide range of figure skating courses are available, from group lessons to private classes. You can also choose which area of the sport who want to focus on, such as power skating, ice dance or stroking.
If you are a beginner, consider taking a 30-minute group class at The Rink at Elements shopping centre. Classes have up to seven students, and the fee is HK$180 on weekdays, and HK$220 on weekends. You can also buy a package of five classes for HK$700-HK$900.
If you prefer speed over spins and jumps, short track speed skating may be more your thing. It’s a bit like running on ice, but you need to use your hands to help you make a smooth turn around the corners.
The Glacier at Festival Walk shopping centre normally offers a beginner’s course of five 30-minute lessons for HK$710 on weekdays and HK$845 on weekends. However, due to recent vandalism, the mall is currently closed until further notice.
The Rink – G/F, Elements, 1 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon Tel: 2196 8120 / 2196 8122, Website: www.therinkltd.com
The Glacier – Shop UG-21, UG/F, Festival Walk, 80 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong Tel: 2844 3530/5500 3588 Website: www.festivalwalk.com.hk
Indoor skiing/ Snowboarding
You don’t need to travel to Japan or Switzerland to hit the slopes, or even Dubai to try out their indoor ski resort, because we’ve got our own!
Founded in 2002, Slope Infinity is Hong Kong’s first indoor skiing and snowboarding training facility. It has all the equipment you need: skis, boots, bindings, poles and snowboards, as well as a silicone-coated revolving slope with multiple speed settings.
If you go with a friend, you can split the cost of a HK$1,450 55-minute couples lesson. You can even bring along a third person for free, but you will lose out on training time, as the coach may teach in rotation.
Alternatively, private classes cost HK$725 for a 30-minute session on the main deck, or HK$600 on a solo deck.
Hongkongers may once have been put off by the seeming rough nature of ice hockey, but not any more. The sport has rapidly grown in popularity over the past four decades, and today, you’ll find primary school players shooting pucks like pros in local leagues. Meanwhile, the Hong Kong male and female national teams have both made major breakthroughs at elite tournaments such as the IIHF World Championships.
Most local games and training sessions are held at Mega Ice at MegaBox shopping centre, as it is the only Olympic-sized rink in Hong Kong.
There are several lesson packages to choose from, but the cheapest is a 30-minute group class of up to 10 people, which costs HK$160. A package of five classes costs HK$800 for weekday classes and HK$950 for weekends.
MegaIce - Unit 1, 10/F, MegaBox, 38 Wang Chiu Road, Kowloon Bay, Kowloon, Tel: 2709 4020, Website: www.megaice.com.hk