If we were to guess, these next few years will be transformative ones for the synthetic ice industry as a whole.
For starters, the Covid pandemic has transformed the way we operate.
Other social issues have transformed the lives of Americans overnight.
And while many areas have reduced restrictions, millions of people are still having to deal with the after effects of the pandemic..
It definitely has changed the way we shop, eat, work, and even entertain ourselves.
At the same time, it has opened opportunities for innovative ways to flourish while at home.
That’s why we think that this is the year of the synthetic ice rink.
What’s Artificial Ice Anyway?
What if there was a way to ice skate without going to an actual ice rink?
Artificial ice or synthetic ice gives avid ice skaters that ability and much more.
An artificial ice rink is made of synthetic polymer panels.
These panels interlock to form a space that anyone can skate.
The panels have evolved over the years to have a better skating experience.
With PolyGlide Ice, there’s only a 10% difference between ice skating and artificial ice.
Creating your ice rink has become more comfortable and more accessible.
With that said, here are some reasons why this is the year to develop your arena using synthetic ice panels or tiles.
Ice skating enthusiasts are concerned about health and safety.
Unfortunately, the pandemic has created concern for the skating community.
Throughout the pandemic, many ice rinks were unavailable, making skating nearly impossible.
Even with the reopening of some areas, parents and ice skating enthusiasts alike are still concerned about health and safety.
By choosing to set up a synthetic ice rink in the backyard, spare room, or basement, skaters can still enjoy their passions in a safe space.
Don’t worry, with tools like Zoom, ice-skaters, and hockey players can even connect with coaches and trainers!
Pivoting to stay afloat
The coaching and training profession has been struck, and not only in the ice skating field.
Coaches were no longer able to host in-person group sessions, or open their training centers
Even as things have resumed - at it has in many states - students will be skeptical to start back classes in the short term.
This puts a financial strain on trainers. Technology helps trainers pivot and profit.
Imagine a hockey trainer can give lessons from his home, demonstrating techniques to students on artificial ice panels.
Many teachers have found it difficult to keep their current students.
By building an online presence, it gives them incredible reach, exposing them to students out of state or in other countries.
Keeping kids engaged throughout the extended break.
The lockdown has brought a list of challenges, with an added challenge for parents.
Kids have been home for months.
These kids don’t only need to keep up learning.
They need to keep active, engaged, and try different activities.
At the same time, parents still need time to adjust to working from home.
No parent wants their kids in front of an I-pad for 9 hours a day.
An artificial ice rink is a creative way to encourage play for the kids.
The kids can enjoy skating while staying healthy and exploring a passion for sports like hockey or ice-skating.
And parents can reclaim some time to navigate remote work.
A new way to stay active
Adults are home and need exciting yet creative ways to stay active.
With limited access to many gyms, many fitness enthusiasts have been working out at home.
Unfortunately, exercise equipment like weights, kettlebells, and bands are hard to find.
The lockdown caused a boom that gym equipment businesses are unable to keep up.
And while running on a treadmill works, it can get a bit boring!
Persons who did not consider skating as a form of exercise are doing so now.
Skating is an exciting way to build endurance, strengthen the legs, and core muscles.
An artificial ice rink allows users to build up a sweat, learn a new skill, and have lots of fun!
Training during a pandemic
The pandemic certainly put the sporting world on hold.
Even professional sports had to get creative to return to action.
The NHL has also got creative with the season resuming in July.
Professional hockey players who weren't part of the playoffs had an opportunity to come back stronger than ever.
A great start for any skater is to get an artificial ice rink installed in their homes.
One significant advantage of the rink is the positive resistance compared to natural ice.
This means not only a prepared athlete but a stronger one.
The figure skating season also had an abrupt end, with cancellations of the World Championships.
While the season resumed on July 1st, some events for the new season have already been canceled.
Skaters will need space to train and may not have immediate access to facilities.
This can bring an increased demand for artificial ice surfaces.
We haven’t even talked about the persons at Junior levels.
Organizers have canceled the next two stops of the Junior Grand Prix.
They will need to stay fresh and passionate about their sport.
And there’s no better way than having direct access to skating.
Let your creativity shine.
Quarantine has opened up a host of new hobbies, from gardening, jewelry making, to baking lots of banana bread.
How about building out your very own synthetic ice rink?
Feed that creativity, while setting up a space for family and friends to enjoy.
It’s a gratifying experience, and who knows?
You can even host a small skating party if the area is big enough (remember the pandemic rules that apply to your state).
Setting up Your Synthetic ice rink
Getting your ice rink down is a quick and easy process.
However, it does take some initial planning. Follow these steps to start skating in no time:
- Figure out the space for the synthetic ice (e.g., basement, driveway, garage, deck, or backyard)
- Measure the space before purchasing your synthetic ice rink. You can compare your area with the available tiles. This saves both time and money. In some cases, the panels can be custom cut to avoid too many interlocking tiles.
- Make sure the surface is level for a better skating experience. If needed, get some plywood. Plywood sets up a smooth foundation to lay the tiles.
- If filling a room, leave a space at the edges to compensate for swelling during hot months.
- Based on the type of tile, consider investing in a slip conditioner. This liquid helps condition the surface after cleaning and extends the life of the tiles.
A brand-new way to connect
One thing we’ve recognized providing others with synthetic ice is the uncanny way it brings people together.
A synthetic ice rink brings families together.
Brothers and sisters build bonds playing hockey, even when things get a bit competitive.
It can help develop more reliable connections with couples learning to skate or help coaches and players achieve a common goal.
You can even set up a Curling rink.
Curling is a fun way to get the most out of your artificial panels.
The sport has its detractors, but it’s great when friends and family come over to enjoy your company and get a bit competitive.
We need to stay connected now more than ever.
Getting your winter vacation fix
Planes have been grounded for months and will slowly return to operation.
The grounded planes brought leisure travel to a screeching halt.
According to USJetCost.com, 23% of Americans prefer winter vacations.
While it sounds strange, some persons just don’t have access to cold conditions.
In some cases, they’ve done it all, so why not a winter getaway?
Many go not just for the skiing and snowboarding, but for the opportunity to enjoy an ice skating experience.
The pandemic derailed plans this past winter and also brings uncertainty for the rest of the year.
While you won’t get your snow fix, you can still enjoy a bit of skating this year with an artificial ice rink.
There are several reasons to jump on the artificial ice rink train.
For starters, it’s a great way to enjoy ice skating with limited spaces opened.
The pandemic has been challenging, but it does not mean we can’t get to do the things we love.
By setting up an artificial ice rink at home, professionals, amateurs, juniors can still learn and improve in their respective ice fields.
Kids also get incredible benefits from an artificial ice rink.
If you want to start your kids with hockey or keep up their training, a dedicated space at home works best.
It also brings some variety in an area that can turn frustrating during the quarantine.
That aside, 2020 & 2021 were certainly years of growth and change.
That means learning new things and having fun along the way.
Some persons can even start a New Year’s resolution to ice skate, just in a different, yet fun way.
This year will motivate others to try new things like synthetic ice skating.
Are you ready to give it a shot, too?
If you need help with choosing the right synthetic ice for your new rink, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for help.
Take a look at some of our most popular rink packages!
Keep on Skating!
Jim Loughran, PolyGlide Ice