China: Around The Nation

Beijing’s balmy weekend temperatures offer cold comfort to outdoor skaters

All six main rinks on capital’s lakes remain closed for safety reasons

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 January, 2017, 5:51pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 January, 2017, 5:51pm

Beijing residents and visitors to the capital city who wanted to spend their new year holiday weekend outdoor on the ice were sadly disappointed.

Balmier than usual temperatures have meant all six major outdoor skating rinks on the capital’s lakes have remained closed for safety reasons. Authorities require a minimum ice thickness of 15cm before skating and other activities are allowed on the frozen waterways.

Most years, at least some of the rinks have opened by December, so that all remain closed is unprecedented, offering cold comfort to visitors who flocked to the popular Shichahai Lake rink in hopes of skating away the weekend.

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It was the first time in a dozen years that the rink, in the area popularly known as Houhai, has remained closed over the new year weekend.

Ice on Kunming Lake at the Summer Palace measured only 3cm to 5cm thick at the weekend, but staff hoped it would reach the minimum 15cm thickness within five days, if current temperatures hold.

Rink maintenance staff said it took a full week of sub-zero temperatures for the ice to reach the minimal thickness.