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Skating in plastic to save energy

This year ice skaters in Salzburg will skate on plastic in a bid to cut energy usage and costs.

The annual construction of an ice skating rink is traditional in most cities at this time of year, but in the birthplace of Mozart and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Salzburg's old city this year's rink is causing quite a stir.

Ice skating on Mozartplatz in the old city has taken place every Advent for the last eleven years and runs from the middle of November up until New Year. This year visitors to the Peter Treml winter lounge will be greeted by artificial ice for the first time.

The artificial ice will save a great deal of energy as it is made from plastic and doesn't require cooling.

Managing director of plastics company "Mertl" Stefan Hernitz said: "By using artificial ice this rink will not have to consider energy costs and noise from the generators is now water under the bridge. Instead of ice machines, all we need is high-pressure cleaners and brushes to clean the surface."

Ice skaters from Salzburg's Skating Club were present last Saturday for the launch of the skating season to test the new rink and give their opinions. 15-year-old skating fan Sophie said: "The surface is slower to move across so this will take a bit of getting used to." Jumps and pirouettes can be executed on the ice just as well as in previous years. "If you fall over you no longer get wet!" added Nadja.

The rink and winter lounge are now open daily from 10am to 10pm and those without skates are able to hire them on site.

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