Ice skate into shape with friends, family

BITBURG, Germany --  Ice skating is fun for many reasons. Not only is it a good work-out, but to many people, it is a wonderful feeling to gently glide over the smooth ice. In Germany and the Eifel region, ice-skating continues to be a popular sport during the winter months. It's a fun way to stay in shape and spend time with friends and family. The Bitburg rink is the closest ice skating rink Sabers can enjoy. It will remain open until April 2013 when the facility is converted into a summer fun park.

Bitburg's rink is open 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 2-7 p.m., Tuesday; 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 2-8 p.m. Wednesday; 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 2-7 p.m., Thursday; 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 2-10 p.m., Friday; 2-10 p.m., Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday and holidays. Groups may reserve the rink on Monday afternoons.

Entry cost is 5 Euro for adults and 3 Euro for children up to age 18. The cost for groups of 10 people or more is 4 Euro per adult and 2.50 Euro for children up to age 18. Multiple ticket books are also available at reduced cost.

School groups typically skate 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Ice hockey sticks and pucks are provided free of charge for school classes. The Bitburg ice sports association offers various activities, and anyone can join. Ask ice rink officials about their membership fees and join the club. Applications for membership in the "Eissportverein Bitburg" are available at the cashier.

The rink is also reserved for team training at various times, which are listed in the skating rink lobby. Although people not associated with the teams can't skate during training hours, observers are welcome to watch practices. Observers are also welcome to watch ice hockey games and figure skating events.

Sometimes the rink offers Spielfeste, or play festivals on ice, discos and other events. Some events require skaters to present a valid ID in order to attend discos, which only allow people age 18 and older.

The Bitburg ice rink complex also has a play section, offering a party room for children's birthday parties. The party room can be rented at low cost. Also available are a speed hockey table, a German football table and a rock-climbing wall.

A fast food restaurant is available at the rink as well as a store with ice skating supplies.

To get to the Bitburg ice rink from base, stay on B-50 until it reaches the T-intersection. Turn right going towards the center of town until you see a white sign on the right-hand side, stating "Eissporthalle" (ice rink). Turn left and follow the signs. The address is Gueterstrasse 7, 54634 Bitburg.

For additional information, call 06561-8447, visit www.eissporthalle-bitburg.de or email eissporthalle-bitburg@t-online.de.