Glide in Mexico City’s ecological skating rink
It will be open until January 7 - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL

Glide in Mexico City’s ecological skating rink

Mexico City
Eduardo Hernández & Salvador Corona/EL UNIVERSAL
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Mexico City's skating rink will have energy and water savings and it will be less expensive than previous years

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The skating rink that will be installed this week in Mexico City’s main square, best known as Zócalo, and that will be open from December 14, 2019 to January 5, 2020, will substitute the traditional ice rink that was installed since 2007; it will have energy and water savings and it will be less expensive than the previous ones.

The Swiss company Glice will be in charge of installing the rink that was imported from Germany and that had a cost of MXN $10 million, that is, 66% less than the MXN $30 million that was spent in previous years.

In an interview with EL UNIVERSAL, Viktor Meier, CEO of Glice, explained that they developed a material out of high-density polymers that looks and feels like ice but that is not ice nor does it melt; hence, people can skate on it with normal ice skates, with steel blades, but with less use of energy. Nevertheless, with this product, the speed is reduced by 2% compared to traditional ice rinks.

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“The plates are high-density polymer plates with ingredients like silicon and UV protection, among others; together, they create a highly resistant material that lowers friction at the same time so that skating on it is possible. The material is 100% non-toxic,” he said and highlighted that since it is imported from Germany, the material complies with the highest quality standards in Europe.

The skating rink will have nearly 1,956 panels of this product and will measure approximately 4,000 square meters, bigger than last year’s rink that had 3,300 square meters.

Viktor Meier added that the rink will have a bone shape with the logo of Mexico City (CDMX) in the center, so there will be a circuit to prevent accidents, “so that everyone skates in a single direction.”

He highlighted that there will be six modules next to the rink where the skates will be supplied in order to prevent bottlenecks and long lines, but they will be designed as cabins.

The project is planned to be installed within a week, including reserve days, since its installation is similar to a puzzle at ground level and it only needs to be protected by plastic, so it does not require a structure to support the plates.

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“It is only made of panels; we don’t use natural resources; we don’t need diesel, electricity generators, freezers, or anything else; in addition, there’s no need to build a structure: the plates are installed directly in the square and we will even take advantage of the gaps it has,” he said.

The CEO of Glice said that this rink has some benefits, like shock absorption, so there will be fewer accidents; as well as more safety for the users, for it will not be as slippery as ice, although it will be wet because of the lubricant.

“Our vision is to bring the winter sport to all those places without ice; we have even put this kind of rinks in warm places like Rio de Janeiro,” he asserted.

The skating rink will have a capacity of 1,200 persons per hour and it will also have 3,000 skates available in a variety of sizes. The registry will be done in two ways: in advance through the site, and where the users will be able to choose their size and schedule; once the register, they will be given a QR code that they will have to present in the entrance to the rink.

There will also be physical points of registry near Zócalo, where staff will help people print their QR codes.

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Being a landmark in Mexico City
The head of Mexico City’s Mixed Fund of Promotion, Paola Féliz Díaz, informed that this institution will be in charge of sponsoring the rink through the promotion of the CDMX brand, both in activations and its operations, in which they will invest nearly MXN $20 million. With this, they are looking for Mexico City to become a landmark in the world because they are entering an international agenda related to the environment.

“With this, we’ll be saving nearly 400,000 liters of water (…); 307,000 liters of gasoline (…) and over 330,000 kilowatts of electricity than any other rink would use,” explained Féliz Díaz.

She added that the rink will be open from 9:00 to 22:00 and asserted that none of the ornaments in the rink will use plastic because everything will be ecological.

“There will be activations; there will be light arches that are a landmark in the world; we will have giant baubles, a giant Christmas tree, and other activities that will be announced this week,” she said.

She added that it is planned for Mayoress Claudia Sheinbaum to inaugurate the Ecologíssima skating rink to open the Christmas activities in Mexico City’s main square and others that will include music, dance, theater, and audiovisual and children activities.

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Zócalo will also hold the presentation of the Thousand Voices of the Magnus Choir on December 22 and 28. On December 23, the great Mexican Pastorela will take place in the Teatro Helénico and on December 28, Sonido Gallo Negro will perform in the main square.

For the New Year's celebrations, Mexico City’s government will organize a verbena in the Palm Roundabout located in Paseo de la Reforma with the presence of the music group Ángeles Azules that will receive the year 2020.

Despite these ecological changes by Mexico City’s government, there are some boroughs like Iztacalco, Iztapalapa, and Miguel Hidalgo that will continue installing tradition ice rinks.

Mayoress Claudia Sheinbaum said that the ecologic skating rink can be moved to other boroughs since its main characteristic is that it does not need electricity: “It’s something different in Mexico City but you will like it very much.”

“The cost is less for the City not only in terms of its rent but also in the electricity it consumes and the emissions it generates. I’ve said it before: the environment has to be part of our project.”

She added that as part of the Christmas celebrations, there will be a children’s chorus and that different points of the city will be illuminated with LED lights.

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