It’s important to weigh the cost factors when contemplating the purchase of a synthetic ice rink. Most importantly are the cost savings you may be affording yourself depending on the purpose of your rink or who it’s for.
We put together a list of seven items that you may want to incorporate into your checklist when trying to access the true value of your new rink. It’s easy to just compare price tags of certain products when shopping but buyers need to be aware of those that come with a cost savings……synthetic ice is one of those products.
1 – Travel
There’s no doubt that the number one reason people consider purchasing a synthetic ice rink is to save on travel. We all know the typical costs associated with travel including fuel, tolls, bus, train, maintenance and repairs that all add-up with each mile traveled.
We found out recently that the “typical” drive to the rink for most parents was not quite what we had originally expected. To try to get an idea of just how much the average hockey player and skater family travels to the rink weekly, monthly and annually, we posed the following question to our facebook followers:
How Far Do You Travel Back-And-Forth to the Rink Every Week, Month and Year on the Average?
Here’s a few Responses that do a Good Job at Summing it up:
- Dana C.: We have three (not so) local rinks; one is 36 minutes to the East, one is 40 minutes West, and the third is 44 minutes West. At least that's what map-quest will tell you. But like Sammy Hagar, I can't drive 55. (but I do now because I got a ticket last week). I've got 2 boys, 5 teams, practices and clinics. Average 5/6 days a week driving to at least one rink. Saturdays can be all three. Since Star Trek transporters aren't available, PolyGlide could be a real help to our fuel economy as well as the boys' game.
- Jennifer C.: Two kids. Two different rinks, sometimes on the same day 40 mins apart. So, drop one off, drop the other off, go back and pick up 1, then get two. Those days, probably 70 miles. The other days, 30 miles roundtrip for practice, 80-120 miles roundtrip for games. Average 5-7 days at the rinks. I *use* to get the low mileage discount on my insurance lol
- Andrea R.: 220 to 420 miles a week depending on which team (my daughter plays on all girls league and the co-ed team). For an 8-month season it's between 880-1680 miles a month, 7,040-13,440 miles a season of travel. During the summer months we do dry land on rollerblades since our town only have ice Oct thru May.
So now ask yourself the same question and see if you can estimate how many miles you plan on traveling to the rink between now and next year. At the time of this writing, the one-year cost estimator for a gallon of gas is $2.89 USD.
So, in estimating our three responses above using 8 months per season and 20 mpg as the average, the breakdown would show that Dana C. would take home the Gold Medal for stops at the gas pump:
- Dana C, 800 gallons $2,984
- Jennifer C., 592 gallons $2,208
- Andrea R., 512 gallons $1,910
Once you’re able to see how much you’ve been spending on travel you can get a better idea on how you can trim it back by creating your own home training rink.
2 – Time
How do you value your time? Unlike materialistic things, time is something we never get back though we sure know how to throw it away. It is something we cherish, and it passes WAY too fast. Though travel may be the most popular reason people consider purchasing a synthetic ice rink, it’s the travel time that can wear us down and is lost forever.
Players and Skaters
For players and skaters, by training at home they can eliminate some of that extra travel and afford themselves more time for other things. More time for homework, chores, games and just plain fun with that time usually spent on the road traveling to the rink. Maybe even more time for an early family dinner and getting to bed at a decent hour and a good night’s sleep.
Everyone wonders why I made the rink in the backyard. I used to go to the outdoor rinks when winters were a lot colder years ago. Everybody had an outdoor rink, the Parks and everybody. I used to sit in the car while Wayne was skating. I remember one night I came home to my wife and said, “This is so stupid, I go to these outdoor rinks and freeze to death night after night…you know what I’m going to do?.…I’ll make a rink in the backyard he’ll go when he wants as long as he wants….I’ll be in the house where it’s nice and warm.” …It truly, truly was self-preservation but it worked-out pretty good!
For parents, not having to rush home to get your child to practice can allow yourself more time to be productive at work or with your own business which itself can translate into additional revenue. Having just a few extra hours each week to address your business or personal needs adds up and helps make life a little easier even if it’s just to kick back, relax and stay warm.
Analyze your schedule and see how you can trim back your trips to the rink by having your player or skater train at home. Attached a value to your time per hour saved and challenge yourself to come up with an annual plan. You will be astonished when you find out just how much time you have been wasting and how much you can start to save.
3 – Lessons
Let’s face it, everyone wants to be the next “Great One” or “Alina Zagitova” and will take endless lessons and training to try to get there. The need to build a solid foundation by learning the fundamentals are critical for any player or skater’s development and taking lessons from an accomplished Coach will lead them on the right path. Just as important is the child’s need to develop on their own to keep it fun and enjoyable enough to want to get better.
By allowing a child more time to develop and love the sport they follow on their own will only nurture their desire to want to get better. As mentioned previously, the worlds most accomplished Ice Hockey Player of all time started learning the game on his own backyard rink. Give your child the time and space to try out new moves or jumps on their own without being on a clock, watched or judged. When training in their own home environment you will quickly see how dedicated they are to their sport.
The overall need for additional lessons once the skill sets have been taught will become fewer and fewer as the athlete progresses. Some Coaches may offer home lessons if they know you have your own home rink and may actually charge you less as they don’t have to pay an additional fee to the rink for the ice time. Any cost savings associated with self-teaching at home will put more money in the pocket of the parent that utilizes home training to their child’s advantage.
4 – Camps & Clinics
As with lessons, Camps and Clinics are organized group lessons that can be both a huge help and at the same time a detriment if not implemented properly. Sad to say, some facilities will run camps and clinics just to fill the open ice to bring in additional revenue for the rink so be sure to make sure it’s an established program with a history. There is a Social element that comes with attending camps as sometimes a child may want to attend for recreation, team building or because a friend may be going which is understandable.
The price tag for some camps and clinics can be quite costly and would provide a huge savings to anyone owning their own home rink. For the purpose of player development, it always will be the amount of time they practice on a weekly basis that will beat out any short-term camp or clinic. Many portable home rink packages can be purchased for the same price as sleep-away summer camp and will provide a year-round “endless summer” of ice for any skating athlete.
5 – Off-Ice Training
Another great thing about owning your own synthetic ice rink is that it can be utilized as a multi-purpose surface unlike natural ice. If a player or skater wants to just come home and work on their shot or spins without lacing-up it’s an added luxury to have with a synthetic ice surface. They can create their own personal off-ice training program to address their specific needs.
Off-Ice training has grown tremendously in popularity in recent years with the advancement of synthetic ice surfaces as facilities continue to pop-up throughout the USA and Canada. Having your own home training center is like having your own “ice gym” that you can utilize anytime you want without relying on group workout schedules or ice time.
By creating your own “Home Ice Gym” you are just one step ahead of the competition when it comes to strength and conditioning. It does not require a lot of space to get in your edgework and drills. Think of your new synthetic ice rink as your own private training center less the annual membership fee.
6 – Value
One thing that many customers don’t realize is that synthetic ice is a unique product that retains its value over the lifetime of the surface and can easily be resold as “Used” if maintained properly. In fact, many rink surfaces are re-sold at more than 50% the original cost allowing customers to recoup a good part of their original investment without losing much value.
When combined with many of the other cost-saving characteristics synthetic ice offers, depending on the overall size of the rink, the surface may well eventually pay for itself. Be sure to properly maintain and keep your rink in good shape in case one day down the road you decide to cash-in on your investment. Save the receipts from your original purchase along with warranty information.
7 – Long Lasting
Synthetic ice is a “Green” product in every sense of the word. As opposed to traditional ice facilities that burn hundreds of thousands of dollars on electricity for refrigeration systems and compressors, synthetic ice burns zero fossil fuels. You will never have to worry about your electric bill after purchasing a synthetic ice rink. Because of the durability of the polymer plastic it has quite a long-life expectancy outside of just surface scratches from ice skating.
It is also portable and re-usable year after year without the need for liners or leveling. No special boards, accessories or pins are required for the PolyGlide Synthetic Ice one-piece interlocking system that can be assembled and disassembled in a short period of time. There’s also a lot less labor involved as compared to traditional rink systems and natural ice rink liner systems that depend on additional accessories, leveling and Mother Nature for ice.
As you can see with synthetic ice there are many ways you can efficiently reap the rewards from your investment. Consider all the ways you can utilize a home synthetic ice rink to improve as a player and skater in the comfort of your own home without relying on your local rink for ice time.
Look at the big picture and soon you’ll understand there’s no reason why you can’t better your skill sets and save money at the same time. When you lay out just where you’ve been spending your time and money it starts to make sense that purchasing a synthetic ice rink for the home can be a great overall investment and asset.