ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s sharply-defined continental climate provides a marvellous opportunity to enjoy every season’s diversity. Winter activities are specifically exciting because of snowy weather, frosty air and fabulous sunshine. Great downhill rides, powder snow adventures and long-distance skating are the ideal setting for a family leisure scenario.
Almaty has a worldwide reputation as the top destination for skiing, but its mild climate also allows indulging in figure skating at Medeu Skating Rink. Although the capital’s conditions seem to be unusually harsh and unpredictable, fresh air and mostly sunny days afford fine discoveries and a cheerful mood throughout the season.
A new winter season opened Oct. 22 at Medeu, the high-mountain rink. The event, which celebrated the 100 days before the start of Universiade 2017, included official and musical parts with DJs and live performances.
Medeu is open every day except Monday with two sessions: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and 6 p.m.-11 p.m.
The ticket price is 1,800 tenge (US$5) for adults, 800 tenge (US$2) for young people aged 13-23 and 400 tenge (US$1) for children aged 7-12. Entrance is free for children up to 7, people with physical challenges and retired persons. Skates can be rented for 1,000 tenge (US$3) for two hours.
The skating rink will be one of the Universiade locations hosting the world student winter sports and is scheduled to be closed for public skating during the event. Open access for those who want to skate at night is under consideration.
“We are looking for an opportunity to give access to people. The rink will be open for the audience during the games. We are now discussing the possibility of night sessions for visitors and then prepare the ice for the athletes. We invited the professional team from Astana that conducts such activities at the Alau rink,” said Medeu General Director Yerzhan Yerkinbayev.
A ski instructors’ school and children’s entertainment area were opened this year. There are also 15 cafes and food courts, VIP rooms and a dressing room.
An environmentally friendly shuttle bus will operate between Medeu Skating Rink and Shymbulak Ski Resort. The 18-seat vehicle has a high cross, all-wheel drive system. The cost is 200 tenge (US$.60) one way.
Address: 465 Gornaya Street
Contact number: 8 (727) 232 68 48
MEGA, Almaty’s largest shopping centre, has a skating rink. The cost is 1,000 tenge (US$3) with skate rent for half an hour and 1,500 tenge (US$4) for an hour. Visitors should check the skating schedule, as numerous trainings are also conducted. The centre organises various promotional campaigns and provides many other services including ice skating and hockey classes, skate sharpening and skating with a personal instructor.
Address: 247A Rozybakiyev Street
Contact number: 8 (727) 232 26 70
Ramstor Mall indoor ice rink
The rink is open noon-5 p.m., Monday-Friday, and noon-10 p.m. weekends. The cost is 600 tenge (US$1.80) an hour and the same price is for skate rental.
Address: 226 Furmanov Street
Contact number: 8 775 439 98 43
If the winter is snowy, there are also outdoor ice rinks near Almaty’s parks and large shopping centres.
Alau Ice Palace
The world-class ice arena with high quality equipment and unique architecture opened its skating season in October. The facility has a 400-metre ice track and stands with 7,462 seats, two hockey courts, a jury room, press conference rooms and eight locker rooms for athletes.
Alau is open 7 p.m.-10 p.m. weekdays except Monday and 9 a.m.-11 p.m. weekends. The cost is 500 tenge (US$1.50) for a daytime session and 1,500 tenge (US$4) at night. Free admission is provided for children under seven and people with special needs and discounts are offered for pupils and students. Skate rental is 1,000 tenge (US$3) for adults and 500 tenge (US$1.50) for children with a 5,000 tenge (US$15) deposit.
Address: 47 Kabanbai Batyr Avenue
Contact number: 8 (7172) 70 67 22
The family entertainment centre includes an ice skating rink, bowling, billiard club and fast food restaurant.
Two-hour skating sessions are 1,000 tenge (US$3) for adults and 500 tenge (US$1.50) for children. Ice Club is open 6 p.m.-11 p.m. weekdays and noon-11 p.m. Sunday and Saturday.
Address: 24 Petrov Street
Contact number: 8 (7172) 34 14 09, 8 (702) 128 9555
A number of outdoor skating rinks in the city will open in December. The largest open air rink is located near the Kazakhstan Sports Centre on the Akbulak River.