Starting a DIY Backyard Rink Project?>
What kid wouldn't want a little bit of Canada in their backyard in the shape of their own personal ice skating rink? This is the ultimate backyard DIY project for any parent that can be shared by the whole family and enjoyed by all. It will also automatically put you on the list for "Parent of the Year" along with "Parent of the Neighborhood" for years to come along with "Super Cool Parent" status. If these acknowledgements are way too much to pass up there are things you need to consider before pulling the trigger.
Weigh the Costs and Duration
If your lucky enough not to be affected at all by global warming and live North of the US border you actually have a shot at an opportunity for some thick ice for a few months out of the year should mother nature decide to smile on your rink building dreams. Heading South into the States the ice time duration starts to melt depending on which way the wind blows from January through February. As you head South of Route 80 synthetic ice starts to become a primary consideration as the actual duration of substained ice seriously starts to dwindle. The rink building project itself may take longer than the lifespan of the rink which you may wind up branding as a one-day "Winter Classic". Traveling further South becomes a polymer paradise for Artificial Ice as the only option unless your prefer to mortgage the house for an ice compressor, piping and brine along with 100 hours of labor (forget it).
Staying under Budget
After confriming your geographical location and referencing the Farmers Almanac start to price-out what the costs are associated with starting your rink project. Ask yourself the following questions before beginning your project:
- 1 - Consider the size, age and sport of your skater(s) as smaller skaters just starting out really only need enough space to perform a figure eight to work both their inside and outside skate edes. Consider going a little bigger for more than one skater or to allow for stickhandling for hockey players or jumps for figure skaters.
- 2 - Assess how much dedicated space (SF) you have for your outdoor (or indoor for synthetic) ice rink. Using the total dimensions draft a list of materials you'll need (heavy mill plastic liner, wood framework and supports for natural) to complete your rink project. If synthteic ice is your best or only option you may want to choose a solid core panel that will withstand the outdoor temperatures over time.
- 3 - As much as we'd all love to "go big" consider starting small and growing your rink as your skater grows and continues to show an interest in their sport which will help keep your start-up cost to a minimum.
Make it a Team Rink Project
Think about making your backyard rink a team project and enlist the help of family members and friends as volunteers that would surely enjoy lacing-up and skating on your rink. If your constructions costs exceed your budget perhaps other team mates and their families would help you raise the necessary funds to complete your rink project if all will benefit. The skating community be it hockey or figure skating are dedicated to their related sports and can be quite creative when it comes to fundraising ideas to make any rink build project a reality!
By Jim Loughran, PolyGlide Ice