If you’re a lover of ice sports, you’re not alone. According to Statista, there are over 15 million skiers and 3 million hockey players in the country. More than 4.5 billion dollars get spent on hockey alone. Ice sports are here to stay.
Unfortunately, some sports are seasonal, and others may be hard to access. To solve that problem, inventors created substitutes like synthetic ice. However, these artificial ice panels have practical uses beyond skating for fun or practice.
What is Synthetic Ice?
Artificial ice or synthetic ice are panels made of a robust and stable polymer that’s used for skating. The panels are made in the form of interlocking tiles that can cover most surfaces. Skaters can then use their metal skates to enjoy their favorite “ice” sports.
The panels often come infused with a compound that reduces friction, perfect for ice skating. Non-infused panels also exist and are quite common on the market. These panels often need a liquid gliding agent applied from time to time. Artificial ice panels are durable, easy to clean and get better the more you skate on them.
Setting Up Your Synthetic Ice Panels
These panels can be set up in almost any space; the only limit is your imagination. You can create a skating strip in your driveway. Or you can make a complete ice rink in your garage or spare room. Set up takes less than an hour, depending on the size of the space. If the ground is uneven, a flat plywood base works best. Grab a friend if needed, and enjoy creating a remarkable ice space. You may be thinking of using the artificial ice space solely for ice skating or ice hockey for your family. Yet, there are a few additional uses that are both fun and practical. Here are 5 to consider.
1. Staying In Shape
You may be skating to enjoy your favorite ice sport. However, you can use your synthteic ice to work out! In 2020 with persons having limited access to the gym, persons are looking for helpful ways to say in shape. Skating is a low-impact form of exercise, giving great aerobic and anaerobic benefits. Over time, you’ll have a stronger core, quads, calf muscles, and better balance. With the added friction that naturally comes with synthetic ice, you’ll get stronger, faster.
Five Helpful Ice Skating Exercises:
- Hops: Jumping in ice skates can be challenging. Practice small hops, either laterally, straight in the air, or front to back. Hops strengthen core, calf muscles, and improves balance.
- Pistol Squats: Bend down balancing on one skate, extending the other leg out. Pistol squats work glutes, core, ankle strength, and overall lower body power.
- Shoot The Duck: How about taking those squats to the next level? Build up a little speed, then crouch as low as possible. Stick one leg out while you glide on the other leg. You get all the benefits of the pistol squat while building endurance.
- Ice Skating Lunge: Get low with a lunge while skating to strengthen the legs and glutes. Lunges on-ice look different from lunges in the gym. The back leg extends instead of bends. Leave the blade off the floor and the toes pointing away from you. Make sure to keep your upper body nice and tall.
- Sprints: How fast can you go in 30 seconds? Improve your endurance, strength, and conditioning with some quick sprints. Set two markers a few feet apart. Then start from one end and sprint to the other. Stop, turn, and sprint back to the starting position. Keep the intensity for 30 seconds, taking 60 seconds rest. Repeat the exercise for 4-5 rounds.
Add skating at least once a week into your workout routine. According to the Harvard Medical School, 30 minutes of ice skating or ice hockey can burn over 300 calories. Maintain the same pace on the artificial ice. Soon, you can increase the speed and complexity of your skating. It’s a great way to relieve stress and manage weight. Don’t forget to cool down!
2. A Creative Source Of Income
If there’s one thing that 2020 taught us is that we can’t rely on one stream of income. Just in case something happens to our jobs, we have something to fall back on. If you already have a synthetic ice rink in your home, why not leverage that space for a little extra cash?
Teach Skating Classes
Are you a skillful skater? If you have the ability or hockey experience, teach a paid beginner class. You can have a couple of adults come over to your space to learn some skating basics. Or you can teach kids some hockey basics. If the distance is an issue, try using a video conferencing program like Zoom.
Hold Skating Meetups
If you have a big enough ice rink in your back yard, you can even create a game night with sports like curling. Let a small group come in and pay a cover. We’re all looking for ways to have fun while being safe. Over time, the rink pays for itself and gives you a handy side hustle income.
Start a Skating Blog or YouTube Channel.
Blogging and YouTube are two popular income-generating activities. These platforms are a great way to teach, at scale. Create some content around skating and ice hockey. Talk about your artificial ice journey, teach skating drills, and give tips and tricks. Don’t overthink this. Start with a phone camera or a simple blogging platform like WordPress or Medium. Over time, you can monetize the content through adds or affiliate links. This is not only a great income stream but a passive income stream as well.
3. Creating Your Own Amateur Curling Team
Speaking of curling, how about starting your own team? Curling seems to be the sport that uninitiated pokes fun at around the Winter Olympics. But the game has existed for hundreds of years and is very popular. Curling takes endurance, teamwork, and a sharp mind. There are even synthetic ice curling rinks that you can install in your home. Curling is an excellent opportunity to get your friends or family involved, and over time, you can even find some amateur tournaments to participate shortly.
4. Trying An Unknown Ice Sport
There’s more to ice sports than ice skating, curling, and hockey. With your artificial ice rink, you can explore sports you never heard before.
Try Your Hand at Ringette
Have you ever heard of Ringette? Ringette is a sport made in Canada in the 1960s. It’s similar to hockey in that it has six players and same protective equipment. However, ringette players use a specially designed straight stick and rubber ring.
The sport encourages minimal contact, and players have a 30-second shot clock. The game consists of zones with the offensive zone, which is played three on 3. While popular in Canda and mainly a girl sport, anyone can pick it up and enjoy it. Try Ringette with your kids or invite a few friends over to give it a shot.
Broomball combines hockey with a little soccer for a fun game anyone can enjoy. Six players compete with a stick that has a broom-shaped head and a rubber ball. The goal is to outscore your opponent! A big difference is that broomball players have special shoes with a rubber sole to help with traction. Full broomball games take defense and attack strategies into consideration, like hockey and soccer.
Broomball can get a bit physical like ice hockey and has similar equipment - like helmets and shin pads - for protection. It’s a great way to get friends to use your artificial ice without investing in skates or other expensive equipment.
5. A Homeschooling Tool For Kids
What do homeschooling and artificial ice have in common? It can be a great teaching tool. Homeschooling has picked up some traction over the last decade, with over 2.2 million homeschooled kids today. Expect that number to skyrocket during and after the pandemic.
Homeschooling helps parents incorporate a nice mix of learning styles. This allows kids to outperform others in tests like SATs. Ice hockey or skating could be a great addition to physical education. Invite other homeschooled kids in the area to build relationships and teamwork. This can help your kids develop critical thinking skills, leadership skills, and mental sharpness that can translate to the real world.
Try Some Cool uses for Your Synthetic ice.
If you have a synthetic ice rink, these are some ways you can keep it fresh and exciting. If you’re thinking about artificial ice, know that there are several other uses besides ice hockey and skating. Try it as a way to stay in shape or make some extra cash. The health and financial benefits make it an investment rather than a form of leisure. More importantly, it can be used to bring family and friends together. If you need help choosing, maintaining, or setting up your artificial ice tiles, contact us today.