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Reindeer Games

Winter sports and Shanghai are two things not often seen together in the same sentence, and for good reason. The city’s rather meagre selection of cold weather activities encompasses only skiing, ice skating and hockey. For those desperate enough to travel to the far reaches of Shanghai in pursuit of winter challenges, here is a breakdown of what is on offer.

Buried in the depths of Qibao, the massive 14-storey Yinqixing Indoor Ski Resort encloses a 380 by 80 metre ski slope – Shanghai’s only skiing and snowboarding option. The slope itself, temperature-controlled at -2°C and covered in artificially-made snow, is divided into three sections ranging from the lower 12 degree bunny hill to the upper 17 degree portion that rates as a green/green circle. For newbies, instructors are available onsite, but they run on the expensive side.

During the week, adult tickets are RMB 98 for one hour, RMB 138 for two hours or RMB 198 for an all day pass; children’s prices are RMB 20 less for each time period. On the weekends, especially Friday and Saturday nights, prices increase along with the crowds. Tickets include both the entrance fee and clothing and ski equipment rental. Warning: a taxi from civilisation out to Qibao will result in a sizeable taxi fare; however a free shuttle bus runs to the slope from Xinzhuang Metro Station.

For those who prefer their winter sports on the relative safety of a flat surface, Shanghai has several ice rinks scattered around town where an hour of fun (including skate rental) costs between RMB 25 and 60 depending on time and location. People’s Square has the most central rink, hidden on the sixth floor of the building with the Samsung sign, although it is tiny, with dodgy ice and dangerous mid-ice pillars; Wujiaochang has a slightly bigger ice sheet that is popular with the area’s university students.

The city’s most recent edition is found in Hongqiao, a medium-sized rink which has become incredibly busy since its opening a few months ago. Mercedes-Benz Arena, the UFO-looking complex formally known as the Expo Culture Center, will open a public ice rink sometime in mid-January. The city’s best facility is in distant Songjiang – a full-sized rink that is home to the Shanghai Sharks professional hockey team and a handful of serious figure skaters.

Started in 2004, the six team Shanghai Ice Hockey League is also based at the Songjiang Arena. With over 100 participants, the league is open to both men and women between the ages of 17 and 65 of all skill levels. Although the season is already halfway over, there is a January draft for new players who have all proper equipment and are willing to pay RMB 1,200 in fees. League games are on Saturday nights and pick up games fall on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. A shuttle bus runs from Malone’s on Tongren Lu on all three nights.

Christian Faubert, a left wing for the Fog Devils, describes the rink as having world-class standards including private changing rooms and hot showers. “The ice quality is generally quite good in the winter and during regular season games they resurface the ice between each match,” he says. “Being one of the weaker players in the league, I have never found the level of competition to be a problem, as most players are just out to have fun.”

 Yinqixing Indoor Ski Resort. 1835 Qixin Lu, near Huazhong Lu. Tel: 6478 8666. Web:

Champion Ice Rink. 2-68 Nanjing West Lu, 6F, New World Plaza. Tel: 6359 6692. Web:

Champion Ice Rink. 8 Songhu Lu, 7F, Festival Walk Shopping Centre. Tel: 6548 3358. Web:

Ice-Charm Ice Rink. 88 West Xianxia Lu, 5F, Xijiao Bailian Shopping Centre. Tel: 5217 8979

Century Star Ice Rink. 1200 Expo Avenue, Mercedes-Benz Arena. Tel: 40 0181 6688

Songjiang University Students Sports Centre, 2000 Wenxiang Lu. Tel: 6782 7272. Web:



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