All about those... thermals

The crucial, most vital step when getting ready for an ice rink outing is deciding what to wear. It has to be comfortable and trusty – so probably not that new pair of jeans. It’s not a prerequisite that you fall when ice-skating, but this possibility surely has to be accounted for, which means it’s better to look less fashionable than to regret ruining your favourite pants or coat. 

Even more importantly, it has to keep you warm. Every part of you and at all times. A good way to ensure complete warmth is by wearing multiple layers: a T-shirt, a button-up, a jumper – and a pro-tip is throwing a thermal layer in there (my go-to is Uniqlo’s Heattech but literally any will do). Not only tops, but bottoms, too, can be layered – consider wearing leggings under your pants and definitely take a spare pair of warm socks. Not only will those keep you warm, but they will also make sure your feet are at their most comfortable in the tightly-fitting skates. 

Credit: Frank Busch (@frankbusch) on

Credit: Frank Busch (@frankbusch) on

And a final grandma tip from me: please, put on your scarf, a fluffy warm hat, and your gloves or, even better, some nice mittens. You will be surrounded by ice and your skating acceleration will add to St.Pete’s regular wind, which is enough to make your nose or fingers freeze off if not taken care of. Trust me, it’s easier to take the extra layer off than spend your allotted hour on the rink freezing. 

How it works

So, what you’d usually find once you’re there is a place where you can rent the skates (usually for an hour and at around 350 rubles) and change into them, as well as a set of lockers where you can leave your shoes and any extra things you don’t need at the rink. 

Ordinarily, skaters are required to move in a big circle around the rink so that there is no chaos and fewer opportunities for accidents. You might sometimes notice people speeding up, going backwards (not against the “flow” but with their back turned forward), or doing simple skating figures, but those usually go in the middle of the circle and don’t disturb the “amateur” skating enthusiasts. 

Credit: Johnell Pannell (@johnell_pannell) on

Credit: Johnell Pannell (@johnell_pannell) on

If it’s your first ever time skating, no worries, too. First of all, there are always helpers – cute plastic penguins, polar bears, or seals, ready to offer you much-needed support and keep you from falling. Secondly, there usually are one or two rink staff members skating among the visitors and looking out for those that might need help. Granted, these days they might not get closer than 1.5 m to you – but just knowing they’re there is comforting enough, isn’t it? 

Another grandma tip: it might be nice to bring a thermos of warm tea or coffee with you, just in case you need that sip of goodness right after you’ve conquered the rink.

Where to skate

When we finally reach the desired winter below-zeros and are lucky enough to see the city wrapped up in snow, more and more outdoor ice rinks are bound to open. At this time, however, we have two favourites to recommend, but keep an eye on this article, as we will try to update it, once any other places are open.

The New Holland Ice Rink is located practically in the city center in its own beautiful  cluster of public spaces, paths, and cafes. The space is usually wonderfully lit and decorated for Christmas and New Year with festive music adding to the atmosphere. The prices range from 190 to 500 rubles with the cheapest sessions on offer for students and on Mon-Thu afternoons. Note that you pay for the tickets and for the skates (390 rubles) separately. 

Our second option is Sevkabel Port' s Ice Rink by the Sea, also located in its own cluster but in rather urban surroundings. It used to be hard to reach, but this year they’ve organized a special free shuttle bus you can take from the Primorskaya metro station. Here, ticket prices fall between 250 and 450 rubles, while renting a pair of skates will cost you 350 rubles. 

Like with any other activity these days, the pandemic restrictions apply here, too. So, to stay safe you will need to wear a mask and keep a distance from others. 

We hope our tips will help you get the most out of your ice-skating adventure! And if you want to get some more winter inspiration, check out our review of Russia’s coldest places, a great collection of winter activities in St.Pete, or our list of best mood-boosting strategies for these cold times.