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.
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.
You’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.
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.
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.
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!