Converting a backyard swimming pool into an ice rink is a great way to encourage winter fun and exercise. An ice rink can be used for fun, practice and winter sports like hockey. It is best done in areas that experience steady freezing temperatures for months in a row so the ice depth is stable. Freezing the water in a pool does not damage the pool and can actually protect the pool's surface during the winter months.
Winterize all pipes and pool equipment the same way you would every autumn. There is no need to do anything differently. Then drop the level of the pool's water to 18 to 20 inches below the coping (molding edge) level.
Lay the vinyl pool blanket over the top of the pool, ensuring that it overlaps the pool's edges by about 3 feet. The blanket should be floating on the water and draped on the surrounding ground or deck.
Place the water or sand bags around the pool's perimeter on top of the blanket. This will hold the blanket and protect the surrounding coping, tiles and deck from damage.
Check to make sure that the vinyl blanket is still in contact with the water's surface and has not been pulled up during the process. The blanket has to touch the water.
Add 4 inches of water on top of the blanket when the temperature is cold enough to form ice. Try to do this when the temperature has been steady and is not likely to go above freezing for some time.
- Be sure that there is at least 4 inches of ice before allowing groups to skate.
- Check the ice depth every day.
- Instead of weighted bags or sand bags, special polymeric energy absorbing panels can be purchased at most pool supply shops or online.
- Before laying down the vinyl pool blanket, you can install trusses along the width of the pool for additional support. This may help create a sturdier and more even skating surface. Trusses are available at most pool supply shops or online.
- Patinoire blanche. image by Blue Moon from Fotolia.com