The Seoul Plaza Ice Skating Rink, which has been steadily growing in popularity as a winter attraction in the middle of the city since it was launched in 2004, will open for 55 days, from December 17 to February 9, and an opening ceremony will be held on the first day.
The ice skating rink itself will cover an area of 5,719.7 square meters, similar to last year’s 5,460 square meters, and with all related facilities, it will occupy a total of 6,886 square meters. Last winter, a total of 177,383 people visited the rink, and among them, 10,528 were foreigners.
This year’s operation of the ice skating rink will be focused on the convenience of visitors. First, the size of the machinery room, which had accounted for a larger portion of the space, will be reduced by 60 percent. In its place, an expanded restroom (150 percent larger) and a place for visitors to put on and take off their ice skates will be installed. The size of the rest areas, including the book café and cafeteria, will be increased as well.
This season, a separate “customer service center” will be operated to promptly handle any complaints that visitors might have and reinforce the training of safety personnel to create a more friendly service environment, thereby minimizing inconveniences for citizens visiting the rink.
The safety features of the rink have also been improved. First, in order to promote smooth visitor movement, a separate entrance and exit have been installed and separate skate rental and return areas have been set up. This should help prevent overcrowding as well as any accidents that could occur while visitors enter and exit the rink. Moreover, in order to strengthen fire prevention, rink facilities will be built using fire-resistant materials that can tolerate high temperatures.
In order to protect Seoul citizens from air pollution originating in China, Seoul Metropolitan Government will close the ice skating rink if the Comprehensive Air-quality Index, (CAI) measured two hours prior to each session, exceeds an average of 151, which is considered to be in the lower range of the “Unhealthy” air-quality level, among the four levels of air quality—Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, and Very Unhealthy.
In the event the rink is closed, SMS text messages will be sent to all skating teachers and students with classes scheduled for that session as well as those who have made reservations. The closure will also be posted on the website at least two hours in advance, giving citizens ample time to check the status of the rink before departing.
In case of such cancellations, those who had signed up for classes or made reservations may receive a full refund or, if they wish, may make reservations for the next session.
To measure the air-quality index, air quality measuring devices will be set up permanently in Seoul Plaza. These devices will notify citizens of the air quality status via a large LED screen installed in the ice skating rink. Moreover, the data will be available on the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s website so that anyone planning on visiting the rink may access the information beforehand.
“This year’s Seoul Plaza Ice Skating Rink has been installed with improved services to ensure the safety and convenience of all visitors,” commented Lee Hyeong-sam, head of the Sports Policy Department at the Seoul Metropolitan Government Tourism and Sports Bureau. He added, “This year, we will organize a variety programs for the pleasure of Seoul citizens as well as foreign and Korean tourists visiting the ice skating rink.”
Despite the long, cold winter, there is still a lot of fun to be had at the Seoul Plaza Ice Skating Rink. It’s a chance that won’t come again for another year, so don’t miss it!