By  The Week Bureau

Parents could also be spotted at the mall getting their kids to the ice skating rink. While some wanted to get their children to experience this unique sport, others were simply accompanying kids who insisted on coming to the rink. 

“I was extremely excited to try ice skating for the first time,” says Tensing Norgay Sherpa, 15, while trying his skating skills on an artificial ice rink here in the capital city Kathmandu.

“I think this is a very good way to utilize your holidays. At least you aren’t cooped inside your home all day. I plan to come here often,” he adds. Situated at Civil Mall, Sundhara, this avenue for ice-skating opened its doors to the public just a couple of weeks ago and, by the looks of it, is gaining quite the traction among children and young adults alike already. Most people The Week met at the ice rink seemed extremely excited to enjoy this recreational sport and for many it was their first time ever. 

“The floor is not made of real ice. Synthetic marbles are used to create an artificial ice rink,” says Sabin Maharjan, trainer at Synthetic Ice Skating Rink. “But it is as good as real. You will not know the difference. You just have to try it once to believe it,” he says. When asked about his experience as a trainer Maharjan he says, “I get to interact with new people every day. And because the concept of ice skating is relatively new in Nepal, people are mostly in jolly moods and also very eager to step inside the rink. It is fun to train people who want to learn a new sport. This is indeed an exciting job.”

Parents could also be spotted at the mall getting their kids to the ice skating rink. While some wanted to get their children to experience this unique sport, others were simply accompanying kids who insisted on coming to the rink. “I came here with my father. I wanted to try ice skating so he obviously had to accompany me. He had no other option,” says Amian Ghale Gurung with a sly smile. Amrita Shrestha, on the other hand, brought her her 13-year-old daughter to the newly opened rink so that she could enjoy an outdoor sport and try something new and different at the same time. “Children these days are only into gadgets and indoor sports. I want her to experience new things and develop new interests rather than being glued to a screen,” says Shakya. “She seems to like ice skating a lot. It has only been half an hour and she is doing quite well too,” she adds. 

Tushita Aryal, a 15-year-old student, was happily tying her ice skating shoes when we spoke to her. “This is my first time and I already love these shoes,” says Aryal. According to trainer Maharjan the shoes used here at the rink are called hokey skating board. “We do not get ice skating boots here in Nepal. That is the reason we are using hokey skating board right now. These are shoes used by athletes when they play ice hockey,” says Maharjan.  

The skating rink mostly seemed to be teeming with school and college children. “This place gets a lot of customers when it is a public holiday. That is because mostly school and college students come to try ice skating,” says Maharjan. Some kids confessed that while they were excited to ice skate, there were also concerned about slipping on the ice while skating. “I hope I don’t fall while skating. That will be really embarrassing,” says Aryal. Gurung, on the other hand, proudly exclaimed that he fell only once in the entire half hour session. But that could also be because he was extremely conscious about his moves and skated with caution. 

However, Maharjan points out that the rink equips its customers with sturdy helmets and a bunch of trainers are always around to make sure everybody is safe and enjoying themselves as well. “Everyone falls while learning how to skate for the first time. That’s quite normal. The trainers are around to make sure that no one has any real injury. You can be sure about that and try to focus on learning how to skate and have a good time,” concludes Maharjan.