It's winter, which means we should do active, wintery type things. That's...well, ice skating and skiing, pretty much. Here's a selection of what's available in Shanghai for people who like snow and ice.
Places To Go Ice Skating
Cost: 28rmb Mon-Fri, 60rmb Sat-Sun for 2.5 hours (includes skates)
Opening Times: Mon-Fri from 6-9pm, Sat-Sun (and public holidays) 10am-9pm
There are two ice rinks here but only the lower one is open to the general public. It's a bit on the smallish side and popular with families with small kids. Sometimes half of it's partitioned off for kid's hockey practice, so you might end up having to do short leisurely laps. If you want to skate on the pro rink upstairs, just join the Shanghai Hockey Club, or you can rent the whole thing for an hour for 10,000rmb. Annual company party on ice!
Classes here are 1,7000rmb for a pack of 10, but they have a deal on group lessons for kids from 5-16 years old (Jan 29 to Feb 2, and Feb 5-9), 450rmb for five classes. For hockey classes, it's one hour, one-on-one for 150-300rmb (depending on your skills), but you have to bring your own gear. The coaches do not speak English. Another thing to note is that they require all skaters have gloves, which you can buy for 5rmb.
Cost: 90 minutes costs 50-60rmb Mon-Thu, 80rmb on Friday from 6pm, 80rmb on weekends (skates included)
Opening Times: Mon-Thu, 10am-9.30pm, Fri 10am-9.30pm, Sat-Sun, 10am-8pm.
Now two years since its renovation, this is one of Shanghai's finest skating rinks; a well-kept, well-lit patch of ice underneath the Mercedes-Benz Arena. As you'd expect, it gets crowded on weekends, but there are few places that combine convenient location with quality quite like this one. Maybe reserve a weeknight to check it out.
They also organize figure skating classes. Prices depend on skill level, but you can expect to buy 10-class packs for about 1,500-2,000rmb. Hockey classes, meanwhile, are 300rmb for 30 minutes one on one, on top of the entry fee, and none of the hockey equipment is provided.
Cost: 75rmb for 2 hours (skates included)
Opening Times: Daily, 9.30am-9.30pm
Small but functional rink tucked into a corner of New World's sixth floor. Despite the columns in the middle of the rink and the (comparatively) claustrophobically low ceiling, it's fine for a bit of casual skating and it's centrally located. Skating lesson prices have gone up since last year; 150-280rmb (on top of the entry fee) for 30 minutes depending on your skill level, though it's less if you share a teacher.
Rentals are mixed quality, with the largest size being 47, and if that doesn't work there's a store nearby that sells skates and equipment.
Cost: 75rmb for 2 hours (skates included)
Opening Times: Daily, 10am-9.50pm
Having opened after renovations last Christmas, New World's second indoor mall skating rink is double the size of the first and minus the columns. Feels a lot more spacious, and attracts the occasional super serious Gubei resident skater. Skating lessons are 150-200rmb (on top of entry) for a 30 minute class, then 60 minutes of "supervised" free time.
They also offer hockey lessons where you have to bring your own gear, which are 150-200rmb for 30 minutes, though they told us they don't have English coaching anymore. The skates are so-so, mostly of the hockey variety, with the largest size being 47.
Cost: 75rmb for 2 hours (skates included). For 85rmb, you can skate all day.
Opening Times: Daily, 10am-9.50pm
Maybe the second smallest rink on the list, this one's clean and well-maintained, popular with kids and families of mall-goers. They've got one-on-one hockey and skate lessons every day, price for a pack of five, 30 minute sessions is 1,200rmb, though the coach doesn't speak English. Cool thing is they still have that "add 10 rmb, skate as long as you want" deal. Skate sizes go up to 47.
Songjiang University's got a top-notch Olympic size skating rink in their Sports Center. It's open daily from 9.30am-10pm, and it's 60rmb for 2 hours (skates included). They often organize games there, so it's a good idea to call ahead. Lessons for kids are organized by a third party hockey club, about 180rmb for one hour.
Places To Go Skiing And Snowboarding
Look, if you're an intermediate or advanced alpinist, or if you don't want to leave the Outer Ring Road, you're fresh out of luck. The closest thing Shanghai has is Yinqixing Indoor Skiing and that's under construction until next year. If you're willing to travel further afield (4+ hours by car), there're some options for beginner/desperate intermediates in the Hangzhou Bay area. We're going to run through a couple here. At least it's closer than Heilongjiang, right?
Important note: Ski slopes sell tickets on their website or on Taobao for sometimes significantly cheaper. We've included the "at the door" prices here because the special prices are manifold and complicated. Rule of thumb; "it's cheaper if you prebook online."
Shaoxing Qiaobo Snow World
Cost: Normal price is 228rmb for 4 hours. Mon and Wed it's 168rmb, weekends it's 266rmb. Deposit for rental equipment: 700rmb.
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri, 10am-8pm. Sat&Sun, 9am-10pm
We've actually been to this one in Shaoxing. It's a single indoor slope of maybe 10 degrees? Time from top to bottom's about half a minute on average, then it's a conveyer belt ride to the top again. The snow's a bit sticky, straight-up melted in spots, and not great quality, but it's good for beginners. They've got skiis, snowboards, clothes and boots to rent. Also, if you prebook for Jan 21, you can get 4 hours for an adult and a kid for 299rmb, or an adult and two kids for 399rmb. Check their site for more details.
Anji Jiangnan Tianchi Ski Site
Cost: Entrance fee is 80rmb, and it's 300rmb deposit. It's 260rmb for two hours on weekdays, 440rmb for two hours on weekends (520rmb during Spring Festival). Cheaper online.
Opening Hours: Daily, 8am-10pm, skiing from 12pm-8pm.
Located about two hour's car ride outside Hangzhou, it's a roughly 800 meter-long piste with a conveyor belt, suitable for beginners and moderates. The snow's artificial, and it can get pretty packed, especially on holidays, but it seems like an okay spot for a few hours skiing if you're desperate. The price of entry also includes boots, snowboard, skiis and poles. They've got lessons for 200rmb (adults or kids). Check their site for more details.
Lin'an Daming Mountain Ski Site
Cost: Entry's 55rmb. 725rmb for the whole day on weekdays, or 275rmb (not a typo) if you book online. It's 590/325rmb online for 3 hours on the weekend. Deposit's 500rmb.
Opening Hours: Daily, 8am-5pm
Even further from Hangzhou, this piste is about a kilometer long with a conveyor and a very gradual slope. Skis, boards and boots are included in the price. Lessons are 200rmb per person. It's located pretty deep in the mountains, near Daming Lake and Daming Mountains, which are scenic spots worth a visit by themselves.
Ningbo Shangliang Ski Site
Cost: Entry's 65rmb. Prices are about 435 for two hours on weekdays, 515rmb for 2 hours on weekends, or 595 for two hours during Spring festival. Cheaper online.
Opening Hours: Daily, 8.30am-6pm
This slope near Ningbo might get your heart beating a tick over baseline. Nearly a 15 degree incline in places on the piste covering about 2000sqm. Ski equipment's included in the price and they've got lessons for 200-300rmb per person. Also, it's reachable by bus; you can take the bus from Ningbo Long Distance Bus Terminal to Xikou (溪口), then grab a shuttle to Shanglianggang (商量岗). Details on their site.