Winter Days Spent on Ice

Regardless of skating ability, Moscow's ice rinks are one of the best things about winter in the city. Every weekend they attract crowds of Muscovites people-watching, drinking mulled wine, and maybe learning a few moves.

The most exciting rink this year is on Red Square. It is located in front of the GUM department store, has a well-organized entry system, a temperature-controlled surface and music that doesn't give you a nervous tic. There are entry times every two hours starting at 10 a.m., and the ice is treated after every skating session. The downside is the price, which goes up to 500 rubles during the prime skating times on weekends.

Vladimir Filonov / MT
Small rinks like this one on Tverskaya Ulitsa are popping up all over Moscow.
Two similar skating options are located in the north of central Moscow. One is the Hermitage Garden rink, popular for its romantic atmosphere and easy access. The ambiance of the 19th-century park has its downsides, however -- circumventing the pretty benches, trees and lampposts requires some skating prowess, as does the uneven surface. The nearby French Ice Rink advertises an "atmosphere of a European Christmas" and offers the same prices as the Hermitage Garden. Although the rink here has no obstacles, finding it in the dark Petrovka side streets behind a large construction site can be daunting.

Vladimir Filonov / MT
Cheaper rinks with less pafos are located farther away from the center. One of Muscovites' favorites and the biggest in the city is the rink in Gorky Park, with lots of sidewalks and a pond available for skating. Lots of people prefer to come here with their own skates, since it's free with the park's entrance ticket, but ice quality can be spotty. The same problem plagues the rink in Sokolniki park -- although access is free, the ice doesn't receive very close attention. As temperatures become warmer, park rinks not smoothed out regularly are covered with slits and snow patches that can be dangerous.

The rink in Luzhniki is another favorite -- this year it has moved between the Moscow River embankment and the big arena of the Luzhniki complex. On weekends, the setup here is similar to the Red Square rink -- there are strict skating periods with half-hour ice smoothing intermissions.

More avid skaters who want to show off their moves usually go to the rink in Dynamo's Young Pioneers Stadium. It's a large space that gets cleaned every hour and only admits figure skaters -- no hockey sticks allowed!


Red Square
Open 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Entrance on weekdays 250 rubles at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., and 2 p.m., 350 rubles from 4 p.m. Weekends 350 rubles at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m., 500 rubles starting at 2 p.m. Skating period 1 1/2 hours.
Rental: 250 rubles, security deposit 2,000 rubles or driver's license, discounts for children and pensioners.
Sharpening: 200 rubles.

Hermitage Garden
Noon to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to midnight Friday through Sunday
Entrance: 100 rubles Monday through Thursday, 150 rubles Friday through Sunday, children under 7 free
Rental: 100 rubles per hour for regular skates, 200 rubles per hour for "VIP" skates, security deposit 1,500 rubles or passport
Skate sharpening: 150 rubles
3 Ul. Karetny Ryad. M. Pushkinskaya, Chekhovskaya, Tverskaya.

French Ice Rink
Weekdays noon to 11 p.m., weekends 10 a.m. to midnight
Entrance: 100 rubles on weekdays, 200 rubles on weekends, children under 7 free.
Rentals: 100 rubles per hour, VIP skates 200 rubles per hour, security deposit 1,500 rubles or driver's license
Sharpening: 150 rubles
Instructor: 600 rubles per hour
26/9 Ul. Petrovka, M. Tsvetnoi Bulvar or Chekhovskaya.

Gorky Park
Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Ice Disco: 6 p.m.-9 p.m. daily
Entrance: free (park entrance 50 rubles).
Rental: 120 rubles per hour, security deposit 1,000 rubles or passport
237-12-66, M. Oktyabrskaya or Park Kultury.

"Prestizh" rink in Luzhniki
Open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays. Weekends 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Entrance: 120 rubles, students 90 rubles, children 50 rubles

Rentals: 160 rubles, security deposit 1,500 rubles
Sharpening: 160 rubles
637-02-18 24 Luzhnetskaya Nab., M. Sportivnaya.

Open 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends
Entrance: free (park entrance 50 rubles at the main gate)
Rentals: 150 rubles, security deposit 500 rubles, wardrobe 50 rubles
Sharpening: 100 rubles
268-05-80 Sokolniki park, M. Sokolniki.

Open 6 p.m. to midnight on weekdays, noon to midnight on weekends.
Entrance: 100 rubles on weekdays, 150 on weekends.
Rentals: 100 rubles per hour, security deposit 1,500 rubles or driver's license.
Sharpening: 180 rubles
31 Leningradsky Prospekt, M. Dynamo.