Skating On Synthetic Ice

“I used to run real ice rinks and they are not very profitable. [They] cost nearly $3 million to install and between $50,000 and $60,000 a month to operate,” says Boskus.

“Synthetic rinks have an extremely low cost at about $250,000 to install a full-sized rink and about $100 per month for the lubricant solution.”


Synthetic-ice rinks can be created to fit any location and any size. Some synthetic-ice rink systems use an interlocking tile design and can be disassembled and reassembled, which is beneficial for a parks and recreation department because it can be moved from location to location.

Synthetic-ice rinks can be installed on any hard, level surface from the seasonal basketball or tennis courts to an indoor gymnasium.

“Look at the size depending on what you need for the size of the rink. We typically talk people down in size,” says Mason.

“You really don’t need a full-sized rink in most cases. In fact, for park applications, all the rinks are customized.”

“Parks and recreation departments usually consider a 40-foot by 60-foot rink because it is easy to manage and easy to operate,” says Boskus.

“With the rinks being made from interlocking tiles, [this size] can be assembled in about two hours or less. The rink can be disassembled in less than two hours and moved to another location in the park district.”

One way to bring in more people to the rink is to create a unique venue.

“Skating outside is more of a novelty down here in Florida, but one thing we’ve found that brings people in is to make the rink look inviting,” says Boskus. “We made our rink look like a miniature Rockefeller center complete with lighting, decorations, and a Christmas tree.”

Low Maintenance

For synthetic ice rinks installed in the great outdoors, maintenance is as simple as keeping the rink free of dust, dirt, and leaves. The rink surface should also be protected by fencing as well as monitored to insure proper use.

“If you get a synthetic-ice rink with blue tinting, it will appear cleaner longer,” says Boskus.

“To clean the rink, use a little Dawn dishwashing solution and pressure wash it. The cleaner you keep it, the better it skates.”

It usually takes one person 45 minutes to clean a 40-foot by 60-foot outdoor rink. Indoor rinks can be cleaned just like a dance floor.

Tammy York is a professional public relations consultant to outdoor recreation related businesses and parks. Her book 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Cincinnati is available via To reach Tammy, email her at

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