Nobody would believe them that an ice-skating facility available in the Saudi desert. Well, it is true, and it is located inside a shopping mall. In fact, there are numerous places in Riyadh which offer small sized skating rinks inside the entertainment area for children. The issue, however, is that if you are a woman who is dying to try out ice-skating, you will not be allowed to at any place. Saudi Arabia hosts a huge number of expats from all over the world, and naturally, some of these people come from the colder regions of the world. They enjoy their snow and ice related sports such as figure skating, which is extremely popular in Finland, and ice hockey, which is extremely popular in Canada. The Finnish people love their ice and over the years have mastered all the sports played in these extreme environments. Finland is also the world champion of Ice Hockey.[irp]
However most Finnish expats to Saudi Arabia, find the environment extremely adverse, in comparison to their own, as too extreme for their taste and want to indulge in some of the activities from back home, one of which is ice-skating. One of our readers had posted that she was permitted to ice-skate although she had to wear her abaya. This was in Jeddah, which is considered the most forward place in all Saudi Arabia. I decided to do a little digging around to help my friends, colleagues, and readers in fulfilling their desire to engage in some of the things they used to do back home.
Everybody who moves abroad experiences homesickness at least once during their stay abroad. After my snooping, around, I have found a hidden gem for the winter sports lovers. I have come across an NHL-sized ice-skating rink inside Riyadh, and the best part of all is that it allows women to skate, even without Abayas. Yes, people of winter lands, control your excitement. However, most of you might be thinking how it is possible that women can be without Abayas in public. Would the world famous religious police not have an objection to women without Abayas? That too while dancing around and making flirty movements?[irp]
Well, the solution to this query is that the rink can be booked and closed off to the public and for viewing from outside. This means that you rent out the whole place, even if you plan on skating alone, and you happen to be a woman. Hence for anyone out there who is passionate for ice-skating can now head over to the ChinaMart which is located next to Carrefour. The rental costs SAR 700 per hour for the skating rink as well as the rent for the skates. It is a little bit on the steeper side in relation to the affordability of the activity but someone who is truly interested in ice-skating or hockey can surely visit the location and the cost can be distributed if women go in a group.