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It is thought that the earliest form of this activity developed 3000 years ago in the cold northern regions of Finland, where the natives strapped rudimentary blades (made of sharpened bones) to their feet and were thus able to glide along stretches of icy terrain. It came to the UK from the Netherlands around the 1740s. Skating on frozen ponds, rivers and lakes won the approval of the aristocracy and also became popular among people of all classes.
Ice skating as we know it - the leisure activity or sport, as opposed to means of getting from A to B - has come a long way since its infancy. Disciplines include figure skating; ice hockey; speed skating (particularly short track); bandy; ringette; tour skating; and Fen skating. The best-known and most popular of these are arguably figure skating (the best-known sub-disciplines are men's singles, ladies' singles, pair skating, and ice dancing); and ice hockey.
Whether you consider yourself to be a budding Torvill & Dean, have watched Dancing on Ice and fancy having a go yourself; like the idea of the speed, thrills, skills and spills of chasing a hockey puck around; or simply want to keep the kids entertained for a couple of hours and get some exercise into the bargain, skating is a good form of exercise and fun at all levels or disciplines.
Oxford ice rink is the nearest facility to Chalgrove. It is home of the ice hockey team The Oxford City Stars who compete in the English national league, as well as a number of other teams, including Oxford University's own team. For anyone interested in taking part, either competitively or at a more recreational level there, is scope for participants of all ages and levels to get involved.
In terms of figure skating and general skating, the rink offers a good range of public sessions at various times, seven days a week. The Oxford School of Skating offers tuition from BITA qualified coaches - both private tuition and group lessons. A vast range of levels and abilities are catered for - from those competing at national level, to those who just want to learn how to keep upright on their blades. Oxford ice rink hosts various clubs, including OXIST (family skating at all levels); Oxford Ice Dance Club (social dancing and ice dance practice); and Oxford Figure Ice Skating Club - OFISC (for young people aged up to 18 who practise figure skating).
Ages of skaters range from toddlers to eighty-somethings, proving that this really is a sport-for-all!
In addition to the public sessions (which are open to all), there are late-night ice discos. Specific ice times are designated for ice hockey and specific figure skate training. The rink is available for parties/hire and there is a café on site.