Pulling Double Duty

Spray and squeegee–This is another method by which you spray water onto the ice surface and squeegee it out to the spots that need the most attention. This does not work on spots that have already started to freeze, as it will turn into frozen slush, which will need further attention once it’s completely frozen.

Spray-Spray-Spray-Spray–This follows the idea that “wet ice is done ice,” says Stoller. Start spraying a spot on the rink until it’s glossy and move on. Put the layers of water on as thinly as possible to get a glass-like finish and also to prevent cracking or “lifting.” If thin layers are applied, it will freeze solid with no expansion to give a glass-like finish that defines ice skating.

Resurfacer–This is the most popular and easiest method to use. It allows you to lay down a very thin, fast-freezing layer of deoxygenated water that will become the skating surface. This is the closest thing to the surface in indoor rinks. Indoor ice is kept at a constant 21 to 24 degrees F. Outdoor ice rinks can be as cold as the outdoor temperature (15, 10, 5 degrees F, etc.). “Hard, deoxygenated ice is good, fast ice, and also will not get chewed up as much, requiring less maintenance time and more skating time,” says Stoller.

Zamboni–This driver-operated machine has a blade that shaves a thin layer from the surface of the ice. After a horizontal screw gathers the shavings, a vertical screw propels them into the snow tank. Water is fed from a wash-water tank to the conditioner, which rinses the ice. Dirty water is collected in front of a squeegee and is vacuumed, filtered, and returned to the tank. Clean water from the ice-making tank is spread on the ice by a towel behind the conditioner. This method will do the work for you, but can be a hefty financial investment if you’re considering a temporary ice rink.

Depending On Mother Nature

A rink can be installed after the temperature has been below freezing for three or four days. As long as it stays cold, the ice thickens, and is able to survive a 40-degree warm spell.

“The only problem is that it is all dependent on the weather. There are ways to keep the sun off it by installing shades or putting the rink near trees,” says Nightingale.

One way to avoid melting ice is to remove any type of debris, including leaves, sticks and equipment, such as hockey nets, pucks and shovels; all of these objects can absorb heat and leave holes in the ice.

Although temporary rinks have to rely on unstable weather, they do have at least one maintenance perk–traditional ice rinks require spraying water on a reflective surface, and any time the weather gets too warm, they are forced to start over. In the temporary rink it all turns to water and freezes again, requiring little to no labor.Coils are another option to keep it cool but can be a costly investment.

There is no date or time stamp on when to close up for the season–it’s simply when the weather no longer supports the ice structure. The temporary structure can be used for upcoming seasons, creating more recreational versatility while keeping costs down. A temporary facility can be a win-win.

Heather Reichle is a freelance writer living in Columbus, Ohio. She can be reached via e-mail at HReichle28@yahoo.com

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