Ice skating is a great recreational sport that the whole family can enjoy. The main problem is that sometimes it's hard to find a convenient rink. And, if you play hockey, you know how hard it is to get ice time to practice. Building a backyard ice skating rink is a great way to stay in shape, learn the sport of figure skating or keep your hockey skills sharp.
Plan the rink. With today's building materials, you can build a skating rink into any shape you want. Take a look at your yard and decide where you'd like to place your rink. An ideal spot is a large flat piece of lawn that is not laden with rocks or other obstructions. While small rocks will be covered by the ice, anything that protrudes more than two inches from the ground may be dangerous. Remove the rocks or consider repositioning your rink. Take an approximate measurement of the diameter of the rink.
Purchase materials. Your local home and hardware store should have everything you need. While ice skating rink kits can be purchased at your local sporting good store or over the internet, you will probably be able to save money by shopping for it yourself. You may even have some of the required materials at your home. You will need to purchase PVC pipe that is at least two inches tall (and fits the previous diameter measurement you took) along with PVC joints for curves and large vinyl tarps that will fit the entire area of your rink.
Lay down your tarp. Lay the tarp for your ice skating or hockey rink directly onto your yard.
Assemble the PVC pipe over the tarp. When you are finished the PVC shape will form the shape of your rink OVER the tarp.
Cut away excess tarp. You want to leave about an inch of tarp outside the PVC pipe. Once the excess tarp is removed, glue or bond the tarp to the outside of the PVC pipe with a heavy duty sealant that adheres to winter conditions. The edge of the tarp should be over the PVC pipe "covering it" so that no water can escape should the ice melt.
Fill with water. Using a hose, fill the entire surface with water until the water reaches the one and a half inch level. Remember water expands when it freezes. When it does, the ice will end up between two and two and a half inches thick.
Skate the night away. After two days of sub thirty two degree temperatures, your rink should be ready! Perfect for skating parties, a date by moonlight or to practice your hockey slap shot!
- Always supervise children skating. Make sure they are not exposed to extreme temperatures for long periods of time.
- Keep a first aid kit handy. Skates and ice are a sharp combination. Be prepared for minor cuts and scrapes.
- Check out your local sporting goods store for additional hockey merchandise. Red and Blue lines as well as goals, pucks sticks and skates can all be purchased there.
- If the ice becomes rough, resurface it by adding another layer of warm water. This will melt the top later, and in a day or two the ice will refreeze smoothly.