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    PolyGlide Blog, News & Updates

    Make the Most of Your Home Environment with Synthetic Ice Tiles

    Make the Most of Your Home Environment with Synthetic Ice Tiles

    The Challenge of Excelling at Ice Skating 

    We love ice skating in all its forms. Whether we’re skating at the rink during the holidays or practicing our jumps or hockey stops in the offseason, skating is a thrilling experience everyone should try at least once. Skating this year, like everything else, has been a challenge. You need to get your skates and gear and find a local ice skating rink to practice or play with your friends. 

    Unfortunately, ice skating and hockey rinks have been hit hard, effectively shutting them down for 2020 and beyond. And while there has been some traction of late, we see it start to regress yet again. To keep the sport and your skill alive, you have to be a bit creative. That means skating at home. And you can make your home environment into your own skating sanctuary with synthetic ice tiles. Stay tuned. We’ll give you some fun tips on making spaces your own. 

    synthetic ice tiles

    It’s Time to Improvise with Synthetic Ice Tiles

    What are synthetic ice tiles? These are specially made panels that imitate the feeling of ice. Don’t be fooled. Skating on synthetic ice tiles is not akin to using your rollerblades. You use your actual metal blades on a high-quality, ultra-dense, polyethylene material. Synthetic ice tiles have been around for several years. In fact, it’s the same material that spaces like malls and hotels use to set up skating rinks for the holidays. These panels are smaller and interlock so that you can skate on any flat surface. That means you can take them home and get a little creative. 

    Using Synthetic Ice Tiles at Home vs. Natural ice

    A common question that arises is, “Why not create a DIY ice rink at home?” Without a doubt, this is a great option. In fact, with some elbow grease and a little creativity, you can create a large, natural ice rink that can last for years but it does have some drawbacks. If you decide to go with synthetic ice tiles instead, you get all the benefits with none of the hiccups. For example:

    Weather is Not a Problem

    While natural rinks feel amazing, to create one, you need ideal conditions. For instance, you must have a few consecutive days at a steady temperature for your rink to freeze. That means time is of the essence. Furthermore, you’ll need to shovel off snow, slush, and freezing rain. Synthetic ice tiles aren’t dependent on the weather and can clean with a simple wipe or soft broom. 

    You Save on Water and Other Materials

    To create a natural ice rink, you need water. And lots of it. You can spend a day filling your rink and several hundred gallons of water, with the hope that it freezes well. You need to have a tarp for the weather, plywood boards, and poles to keep everything in place. With synthetic ice, all you need is to purchase the number of tiles for your space and Rebounding Dasher Curbs to cordon it off with synthetic ice tiles. These can be used for years to come without having to waste precious time and resources.

    Easy to Set-up and Uninstall

    Setting up a natural rink makes excellent use of your environment. But it can be a task to set up and take it down. You’ll need a little help with measuring, setting up the walls, and filling up the rink. With synthetic ice tiles, you can set up by yourself with just a soft mallet to interlock the panels. When you’re done, you can break it down and store it away (but who will want to do that when you can skate all year!).

    It’s Safer for Your Kids

    Most parents love that their kids are crazy for hockey. But playing at a local rink can bring some safety concerns. Older kids could be a bit rough, and parents tend to worry about stray pucks flying everywhere. By using your home environment, you have a more controlled space where they can have fun. Furthermore, if you’re still a bit concerned about heading out due to the ongoing pandemic, you can safely skate at home in your own bubble. 

    A Great Way to Release Some Energy

    If the kids have a little energy to burn, they can put on their skates and have some fun! Ice skating, figure skating, and hockey are great ways to burn off some energy. And if you want a way to stay in shape, you can get a great workout on your synthetic rink.  

    Happy SkaterYou’ll Get Better at Skating

    The more hours you put in something, the better you get at it. Ice skating is no exception. If you or your kids want to get an edge on the competition, having space to practice will quickly improve your speed, strength, and stickhandling skills. While everyone is resting, you’ll be working.

    How to Take Advantage of Your Environment

    Now it’s time to put on your thinking cap and see how you can make the most of your surroundings. Opting for synthetic ice tiles gives you the advantage of setting up almost anywhere. Make sure to measure your space so you have the necessary tiles for your area. For uneven surfaces, you’ll need additional plywood to have a smoother skate. Here are some ways to make the most of your space.

    backyard rink

    1. Set-up a Backyard Rink

    This is one of our favorite locations to set up a rink. People often use their backyards for natural, DIY ice rinks because they’re spacious. We love space when it comes to skating though you really don't need a lot! With as little as 200 square feet, you can set up a space for hockey training or a manageable enough rink to practice figure skating. You can go larger if you have older kids or have practice matches. Having a level surface is critical, so check grassy areas and use plywood if needed to keep things even.  

     2. Use Your Driveway

    Sometimes, all you have is your driveway! Park the cars in the street or the garage and get your tiles down to start skating. You’ll have significantly less space compared to the back yard. However, you can still get a nice sized rink if you have a large area. You can even get creative and use your front lawn!

    3. Skate on Your Deck

    Decks are flat surfaces created outdoors and connected to your house. They are usually made of high-quality wood and elevated from the floor on concrete or wooden pillars. Decks are great for lounging in the summer but can double as your skating rink all year round! Decks are some of the best places for skating since they are usually large spaces with level floors. All you’ll need to do is set up your rink based on the dimensions of your deck.

    4. Garage Ice Arena

    Probably one of the most popular spaces for a home rink is right where you park your car (or store all your possesions....the Garage! It's the ideal location that provides the nesessary space just enough to practice your edge work while away from the riink AND stay warm! The great thing about synthteic ice is thta the polymer plastic is strong enough to park your car on it with no damage to the surface. Just remember to cover your rink first to prevent dirt, oils and debris from mucking-up your rink.

    ice court

    5. Sport Court Conversion

    If you have a backyard basketball court or tennis court, you can quickly convert it into your rink for the holidays and beyond. Since these have flat surfaces, you can easily place multiple tiles in any shape you like so you or your family can start skating. To have the best of both worlds, you can invest in a pad or covering where you can still play basketball or tennis while having your rink in place. 

    6. Turn Swimming into Skating

    Earlier this year, our friends at the Faze Clan mansion took our tiles and created a skating runway around their pool. That gave us an idea. Why not cover your pool in ice! During the cold months, swimming will be at a minimum. It’s a great way to use the space by installing a synthetic ice rink. If the pool is shallow, you can drain it and install the rink on the pool floor. This can save you money on energy and water! Place a sub-layer of foam or board to protect the floor of the pool. You can go over the pool, but this may be a bit more difficult. You’ll need to create a sturdy structure to hold everyone safely before placing the skating panels. Speak with a contractor or structural engineer for this option. 

    rooftop rink

     7. Take it to the Roof

    Sometimes we don’t have space in our environment to create large rinks. Some people live in apartment complexes or other living arrangements where space is a premium. Why not take advantage of the space on the top floor? Set up a synthetic ice rink on the rooftop area away from the ledge. It will feel fantastic skating closer to the clouds, or even under the stars!

    Get Creative with Your Environment

    If skating is as important to you as it is to us, it makes sense to make the most of your environment. Using synthetic ice tiles, you have the versatility to set up almost everywhere while still having a skating experience comparable to real ice. From your deck, pool, and even the street, you and your family can have fun skating again! If you need advice on measurements and set up or need special pricing, don’t hesitate to contact us today!


    Synthetic ice Tiles: Expectations vs. Reality

    Synthetic ice Tiles: Expectations vs. Reality
    If you’ve been thinking about getting synthetic ice tiles, you’ve probably done some research. Based on the blogs and YouTube videos around, it’s easy to build up some ideas around skating on a different surface. We’re here to address some of those expectations and give you the reality.   

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    Ice Skating Rinks Closed Due to Covid-19 Consider Other Options

    Ice Skating Rinks Closed Due to Covid-19 Consider Other Options

    Hundreds of thousands of people look forward to holiday ice rinks. Unfortunately, this may not be the case this year. The coronavirus pandemic has caused millions of infections and thousands of deaths. As a result, states have shut down large gatherings, and this will no doubt affect ice rinks. 

    Initial reports have some famous ice rinks closing due to health concerns and anticipated low attendance. Many of these rinks depended on hundreds of daily visitors. They can lose thousands of dollars in overhead costs and reduced business. Closures will also be a blow for avid ice skaters who look forward to ice skating with friends and family over Christmas lights. 

    Despite the pandemic, all is not lost. Some holiday ice rinks are forging ahead but will need strict protocols in place for safety. For instance, the famous Cosmopolitan skating rink in Las Vegas will be going ahead as planned, limited to 60 skaters. For others, being fully operational to the public may not be possible. However, there may still be some ways that businesses and skaters can pivot to enjoy the ice sports they love so much. From going virtual to investing in synthetic ice tiles, here are some holiday ice rinks alternatives to consider.


    Culver City Ice Rink

    The Businesses of Ice Rinks

    Skating rinks and other holiday ice rinks may be seasonal, but the business is a multimillion-dollar market. Ice rinks make money from using the rink, concession stands, skate rentals, and even skate sharpening. Holiday ice rinks also employ hundreds of people for seasonal work. With the pandemic, rink rentals can lose millions. The ice rink market is expected to lose at least 6.3% in revenue this quarter, though many predict this number to be significantly higher.

    Covid Rink Safety

    It’s All about Safety.

    While several rinks will be closed due to restrictions or profitability, for those who aren’t mandated, safety must be the top priority. Simple steps like masks, spaced out customer traffic, sanitizing equipment, and temperature checks can minimize issues. Even with safety protocols in place, there will still be a significant decline in traffic. So there are a few ways that businesses can pivot to make the most of the holiday season

    Consider Exclusive Rentals. 

    People love exclusivity, and for ice skating, it will be no different. To compensate for revenue, holiday ice rinks should consider renting out the rink on particular days for small corporate events like skating discos, team bonding, or fun tournaments. Companies are still looking for ways to improve their staff morale. A controlled event in an open space like ice skating can do just that. More importantly, rink owners can charge corporate rates per skater, increasing overall profit. These holiday rink owners will need to show safety protocols at the rink. Consider marketing to nearby firms, small businesses, and even celebrities to book as many personal, safe events as possible. 

    Skating Event

    Host a Virtual Skating Event.

    Why not put on a show? Collaborate with amateur and professional figure skaters or dance troupes to put on a virtual event. You can have skating enthusiasts pay for exclusive access to the event. With the impact of covid-19, virtual events have risen significantly. Persons are more likely to pay for special occasions they can view in the comfort of their own homes. The added income from virtual events can supplement the lost revenue from reduced capacity.

    Care for a Collab?

     In these difficult times, businesses are stronger together. A collaborative event or effort can be profitable for both parties. How can your company team up with another to create a successful event or promotion? This may even mean collaborating with your competition. For instance, companies like ours sell synthetic ice tiles that can be used at home. Can your team provide virtual training lessons or sell skates to these users? For many holiday ice rink providers, staying afloat means being creative and stepping out of their comfort zones. 

    Home Skaters Need to Pivot Too.

    With over 6 million active skaters in the country, there will be a lot of disappointed persons this year. For many, skating is more than a seasonal activity; it’s a way of life. Others are just excited to hone their skills, learn skating, or connect with their friends and family in a fun way. Best of all, it’s a tradition that connects thousands of families. With major ice rinks closing for the holidays, it seems to be all but over. Some persons are even concerned about 2021. We know the joy that skating brings and that joy is what motivated us to create our company. Luckily, there are a few ways to still enjoy skating while navigating the pandemic.

    Backyard Rink

    Build Your own Backyard Rink

    Have some space in your backyard? Why not take on a cool holiday project? Get your friends or family together and build a backyard rink. Even during these difficult times, you can build a relatively inexpensive rink. Look for a level surface in your back yard. If the space appears sloped, you’ll need to fill it in. You’ll also need to time it well, starting the days leading up to the first freeze. Then you’ll need materials for rink walls (wood, PVC, or special sideboards) and brackets to hold them in place. You can even get professionally made Dasher Boards for that authentic rink feel. Next, fill up your rink with water and let nature get to work. In short order, you’ll have a rink that you, your friends, and your family can enjoy. 

    Take it Inside with Synthetic Ice Tiles.

    Does setting up a DIY backyard rink sound tedious? Or maybe you don’t have the weather in your favor. Then consider investing in synthetic ice tiles. Synthetic ice tiles are made of a strong but smooth polymer that’s perfect for skating. These tiles connect like puzzle pieces and can fit on almost any hard surface. On these smooth polymer sheets, you can use regular ice skates and have an amazng skating experience. You can choose infused ice, which are self-lubircating tiles. These maintain their smoothness and has less friction. Non-infused need a additional liquid enhancer but has been known to stay cleaner for longer. To set up your synthetic ice tiles:

    • Measure your room, driveway, deck or backyard. Leave a small space at the edges to compensate for swelling due to heat.
    • Order your panels. At Polyglide Ice, we have panels available for any skating activity. However, we can customize your panels to fit your space.
    • Once you receive them, install your panels using a soft mallet. Make sure the surface is flat and even. If it isn’t, plywood boards can help. 

    So if you have a spare room, basement, it’s a great way to start or continue skating in the safety of your home. Synthetic ice panels like ours can last more than a decade, so you can pick them up and reuse them for the holidays. Or you can use them around throughout the year to become an exceptional skater or stay in shape.

    PolyGlide Curling Rink

    Pick Up Another Ice Activity Instead.

    With these changes in effect, it’s a great time to try something new. Besides ice skating, there are other fun, safe ice activities you can try at home. We’re a big fan of curling. The sport has been around for more than 400 years and involves sliding large stones along ice towards a target area. Curling rinks have gone indoors for some time now, with synthetic ice kits easily accessible. You can set up a curling rink in a spare room or family room for hours of fun. A small, trusted group of friends could come over and enjoy the holiday your way. 

    Still Venture Out (Safely)

    While some popular rinks will be closed, there may be smaller rinks in your area open for business. If you’re comfortable heading out and confident in your safety protocols, then try a smaller rink. Research the rules and safety measures in place by the rink, to help you make a better decision. If possible, schedule the time you’ll be visiting to minimize your interactions. Take your own skates if possible. If you can safely navigate the rink, you’ll be doing your part to help rink owners stay afloat in what has been a challenging year. 

    Final Thoughts

    The pandemic is an unfortunate blow to the holiday ice rinks that we’ve enjoyed for years. With the large crowds some rinks draw, it’s understandable why most rinks have no choice but to close up shop; some of their biggest clients won’t be investing in rinks this year. However, for those that are up and running, these challenging times can bring out creativity and resilience that can help for years to come. 

    Skaters will also feel disappointed this year. However, there are alternatives, like at-home skating, that they can enjoy with close friends and family. Will we see a change in 2021? Time will tell. Until then, we’ll have to make the best with what we’ve got.                                                 

    Synthetic Ice Skating During a Pandemic with Coach Michelle Hong

    Synthetic Ice Skating During a Pandemic with Coach Michelle Hong

    No one expected a pandemic of these proportions. Covid-19 has not only affected the health and wellness of millions, but it has also been severe in virtually every business and sector. Skating, particularly the figure skating community, is no exception.  

    Many skating rinks and businesses are closed, and several others have been hit by low attendance. Skating firms and Coaches alike have pivoted to online classes and building virtual communities

    One particular Coach stands above many others in social media reach, online classes, and pivoting through the pandemic. Michelle Hong, a former competitive skater, turned coach and entrepreneur, was already "ahead of the curve."

    Coach Hong is also an ambassador for PolyGlide Ice and has done a fantastic job integrating our brand with hers. We’re going to talk about Coach Hong, her use of social media, and how she has supported PolyGlide Ice. We’ll also cover how other Coaches can use PolyGlide Ice to their advantage in this pandemic.

    Michelle Hong on Ice

    A Little About Coach Hong

    Coach Michelle Hong is based out of Oakland, California. Before her coaching journey, Hong was a competitive figure skater at Junior and Senior levels. Her noticeable achievements as a competitive skater include the 2009 Central Pacific Regional Silver Medalist as a Junior and the 2010 ISI World Champion at the Senior Level. She eventually moved on to coaching and choreography, starting the company, Coach Michelle Hong. Hong’s company is dedicated to bringing training and skating-related content to the masses

    Michelle Hong Socail Media

    The Power Of Social Media

    Social media has been a central part of Hong’s business model. She’s been slowly building her YouTube and Instagram channels. Hong’s content surrounds simple to advanced techniques helping skaters to build a solid foundation. From a one-foot glide, loop jumps, crossovers, and more, Hong covers them all. She even answers her follower’s questions with video tutorials. 

    Hong also creates content off the ice, helping her followers learn stretches and exercises to improve strength and flexibility, a crucial part of figure skating. Functional movements make the content accessible to people who don’t skate, significantly improving her reach.

    Tik Tok has been incredibly useful in growing her brand, as she’s seen significant growth on the platform over the last year. With over 350,000 followers, her hard work on content creation has paid off, landing her in publications like Disrupt Magazine and US Figure Skating.

    Coach Hong shows us all the indelible power of social media. Her work since 2016 has positioned her to be ready for the demands of digital connection. Many hope to continue their training during a pandemic, and Hong’s content has delivered. 

    Michelle Hong Stretch

    Making Skating Accessible Through The Pandemic

    With a headstart online versus other skaters and coaches, Hong has consulted, provided coaching, and mentorship during the pandemic. A host of content since 2016 built her social proof, allowing her to offer classes via Coach Michelle Academy.   

    She turned her popular stretching videos into a Stretching course for Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced skaters. The course, taught live by Hong via Zoom, covers the techniques skaters should practice executing moves on the ice. There will be more content to come, including Pre-Recorded courses.

    Even if you don’t have access to a rink or have synthetic ice tiles at home, these exercises are geared towards bringing you massive value and preparing you to be a stronger skater. Other coaches and skating instructors must find ways to connect with students and still earn an income. Start by leveraging tools like Zoom and course creation software like Teachable. To get the word out, focus on a social media platform like Hong, giving as much value as possible. 

    Highlighting Diversity In Skating


    Coach Hong is passionate about teaching others to skate and making what many consider a privileged sport more accessible. She’s on a mission to improve diversity and accessibility in the sport. Her Cambodian-American heritage places her in a position of empathy. She also struggled with inclusion, affordability, and accessibility. These experiences make her a key Membership Growth Consultant for US Figure Skating

    Coach Hong regularly highlights skaters of color and differently-abled skaters on her social media platforms. Her weekly IG Live segment, Paving The Way, highlights diversity and inclusivity in the sport. 

    Her efforts have also led her to co-found FSDIA, the Figure Skating Diversity, and Inclusion Alliance. The movement and its petition seek to drive the conversation and bring about change in the sport. Diversity has always been a concern in all aspects of skating. While decision-makers in skating acknowledge an overall discrimination issue, FSDIA feels little has happened to turn those words into action.

    FSDIA seeks to “foster a more diverse & inclusive figure skating environment worldwide through policy change, program development & funding for the next generation of athletes.”

    Hong has collaborated with Diversify Ice Fellowship and Foundation, a nonprofit we’ve had the privilege of working with as well. These initiatives align with our belief that skating should be accessible to all. 

    Skating In Your Kitchen?

    Like Coach Hong, the pandemic has affected thousands of skater’s ability to visit rinks at will. She had to pivot, and PolyGlide Ice’s Spin Station was a great solution. We provide High Molecular Weight panels that can be installed on almost any hard service. 

    These panels interlock like puzzles and are perfect for skates. The Spin Station is specially made for figure skating. Its triangular panel design helps set up the tiles that allow skaters to spin, turn, and jump safely. We’ve always encouraged setting up Spin Stations in your driveway, spare room, basement, or backyard. But we were pleasantly surprised to see Coach Hong set up in her kitchen! Since then, she’s created unique content on Tik Tok and Instagram. 

    For starters, she created content on what it feels like to skate in your kitchen. PolyGlide Ice feels close to natural ice, which allows Coach Hong to train in her own space. Since then, her kitchen skating videos have gained popularity on Tik Tok, with some earning over 400,000 views, like this one, where she confirms our Spin Station does not ruin blades. She continues to be a great ambassador for the brand, showing off amazing YouTube content as well. As a takeaway, people who can be themselves while being authentic, original, and consistent can find success online. 

    Are you getting the best out of your synthetic ice panels?

    If you’re an ice skating coach or enthusiast, you can gain an advantage with our synthetic tiles. We see our Spin Station and other products as an investment in your long-term skating career since synthetic ice panels last several years. Here are some ways you can use your at-home rink during the pandemic:

    1. Have one-on-one (or more) classes in person: Move your training from the crowded rink to the safety of your home. Have your student come over to your location to practice on your Spin Station. Make sure to follow the proper safety protocols so everyone can train without the risk of infection. If done right, you can have several students creating a sustainable source of income during the day. 
    2. Create skating related content: Like Hong, you too can start teaching your audience your skating techniques and tips. Social media is not a zero-sum game. More followers for someone else does not mean fewer followers for you. You can build your own tribe with consistent content. Synthetic ice panels allow you to skate at home while expressing your personality. Aim for platforms like TikTok and Instagram. In your bio, find a way to connect with your audience personally (for example, by collecting emails or text messages).
    3. Seek out sponsorships and collaborations: Exposure to the right person can open the door to sponsorships or partnerships with businesses. Influencer Marketing can add an extra income source to sustain your business or practice during the pandemic. Don’t be afraid to pitch to companies in your field, even with a small following. Micro-influencers (someone who has between 1,000 and 10,000 followers) can be valuable as they are more engaged. 

    Skate through the Pandemic

    Skating is not just a way to earn income for Coach Hong. It’s a way for her to be herself, be creative, and impact the lives of others. The pandemic has no doubt created a strain on her business, but she powered through. It’s not been easy as Hong still skates at her local rink, making sure to follow the proper safety protocols. Even there, she posts helpful (and funny) content. She’s a key ambassador for our products since it allows her to hone her skills and keep her competitive edge. If you want to learn more about Coach Hong, check out her website or follow her YouTubeTikTok, and Instagram accounts.

    While things may come back to some semblance of life as we remember, virtual learning is the future, regardless of your niche. Consider setting up space for your ice skating needs at home. You get to skate year-round and can use your at-home station to navigate the pandemic. Feel free to contact us for more information or a consultation on providing panels to suit your needs. 

    Synthetic Ice Hockey Training at Home

    Synthetic Ice Hockey Training at Home
    You can still practice basic to complex hockey drills, even with the current pandemic. With synthetic ice panels, you can get an amazing skating experience and come out better than ever. Here are some trips and drills for synthetic ice for hockey at home.

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