Skating On Synthetic Ice

Want to bring the fun of an ice rink to your park, but don’t have the expertise for maintenance, the building to house it, or the money to pay the utility bills?

You don't need freezing temperatures to set up on an "ice" rink.

There is another option–fake ice–also known as synthetic ice. This new synthetic ice is a high-tech polymer plastic engineered to create a low-friction surface similar to that of real ice.

Figure skaters, hockey players, and recreational skaters all can use the surface.

“The alternative ice skating-surface concept has been around for 30 years. Back then, it was primarily used for stage shows and was a surface to stand on with skates with silicone used as the lubricant,” says Don Mason, president of KwikRink in Minnesota.

“Fast forward 30 years and synthetic ice is now a very realistic surface for advanced training.”

How Synthetic Ice Works

Instead of the synthetic ice of the past that used a plastic surface and silicone was applied as a lubricant, new synthetic-ice products have the lubricant imbedded within the product.

“Ingredients injected into the core of the synthetic-ice polymer make their way to the surface of the synthetic ice to make a slick surface to skate on,” says Perry Boskus, president of Global Synthetic Ice.

“On the older synthetic-ice surfaces, the skater’s blades cut through the top layer of silicone and then cut through the plastic and the blade chattered or stopped, but newer synthetic ice virtually eliminates this problem.”

Synthetic-ice rinks also can be assembled in nearly any location outdoors, from Florida to Canada.

The benefit of warmer climate locations is the novelty of offering ice skating outside in 90-degree weather under palm trees; in colder climates, freezing weather for an outdoor ice rink is not required, which has recently been an issue in Canada. In fact, those in northern climates having difficulty with warm weather wreaking havoc on traditional outdoor rinks can even use synthetic ice to bridge the gap until it is cold enough to create a traditional outdoor rink.

Compare And Contrast

Since synthetic ice doesn’t require refrigeration, there is no need for extra square footage to handle the cooling and dehumidification systems or the electricity to refrigerate the ice and the natural gas to dry out the silica used in the dehumidification process.

And exactly how does the surface of synthetic ice compare to that of a traditional rink?

The new synthetic ice surfaces are a big improvement over earlier versions.

With a traditional rink, if a dehumidification process isn’t used properly, humidity creates condensation on the ceiling that literally rains down on the people using the rink; this can create potential problems on the surface of the ice, such as bumps and in some cases–stalagmites.

Plus, there is no need for a Zamboni machine that averages $100,000, requires a trained operator, and must be operated several times a day to maintain a smooth surface. There is also no need for heating coils to melt the shaved ice and plumbing to remove the water from the Zamboni’s dumping area.

Page 1 of 2 | Next page

Related posts:

  1. Biting The Synthetic Bullet
  2. Pulling Double Duty
  3. Pictures And Dreams
  4. A Synthetic Landmark
  5. Synthetic Turf Performance Guidelines
  • Columns
  • Departments