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    PolyGlide Blog, News & Updates

    DIY Backyard Ice Rink Project

    DIY Backyard Ice Rink Project


    Do it yourself backyard rink AWhat kid wouldn't want a little bit of Canada in their backyard in the shape of their own personal Backyard 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.

    Climate Factors

    If you live North of the USbackyard rink cost 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 - 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

    family team rink projectThink 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



    How do I know what synthetic ice panel to buy?



    It's Never Too Late to Learn How to Ice Skate

    It's Never Too Late to Learn How to Ice Skate

    Do you find yourself gaining weight during the long, cold winter months? Is it difficult to stay motivated to exercise, particularly when there's frost on the ground?

    If your home exercise equipment or local gym is failing to get you up and out of your easy chair, it may be time to try a new type of exercise this winter.

    How about something that not only gets your heart beating faster, but also improves your balance, physical fitness, and coordination?

    Why not try something that’s so much fun, you'll forget you're working out?

    Ice skating might be the perfect fit for you. You may follow figure skating competitions during the winter Olympics or enjoy watching your favorite hockey team square off against its rivals — but do you skate yourself? It’s never too late to learn.

    You can learn to ice skate at any age. Learn more about the benefits of this fun and invigorating winter activity.

    Health benefits of ice skating

    Ice skating is great for your heart and lungs. It provides an aerobic workout, getting your heart pumping and improving your circulation.

    This can help you feel more alert and energetic, while lowering your risk of heart disease.

    Ice skating can also help you lose weight, especially if you combine it with a healthy and well-balanced diet. Y

    ou can potentially burn more than 200 calories for every half hour of skating, reports Harvard Medical School.

    Ice skating also tones and stretches your muscles as you learn to engage your abdominals, thighs, and calves to maintain your balance.

    The more you skate, the more strength and endurance you’ll develop.

    Finally, skating can improve your mental fitness. As you learn to skate, you’ll challenge your mind and body to develop new skills, increase your self-confidence, and exercise mental control.

    This fun seasonal activity is also a great way to spend time with friends and family members.

    Hitting your local ice rink together can help you unwind and relieve stress in the company of loved ones.

    Before you get started

    Before you start ice skating, take these simple steps to prepare.

    Talk to your doctor

    As with any exercise program, it's wise to check with your doctor before starting to ice skate.

    They can help you decide if you're in good enough health to take on the challenge.

    They can also help you understand the risks and benefits, and strategies to avoid injury.

    Stock your closet

    It’s important to dress warmly but in layers when you skate, so you can shed clothing as you start to warm up.

    Leggings and stretchy fitted tops allow freedom of motion. Wear microfiber socks rather than cotton socks. They will absorb moisture and fit well on your feet, reducing your risk of blisters.

    Wear gloves, not only for warmth, but also to protect your hands if you fall.

    Consider wearing hip, knee, elbow, and wrist pads or guards to protect your joints against injuries. A helmet can also help you stay safe by avoiding head injuries. Wearing protective equipment is especially important if you're not confident in your balance. These precautions can help you avoid injury and continue skating, even after a fall.

    Rent or buy skates

    When you first start, consider renting your skates instead of buying them. That will give you the chance to try different styles to learn what you like and don't like.

    When it comes time to buy, you’ll have more experience and knowledge on which to base your purchasing decision.

    If you want to buy skates right away, get some advice from a reputable skating instructor. They can help you determine which skates may be best for you. Whatever you decide, make sure your skates fit well.

    Skate sizes don't always match shoe sizes. Your heels should be snug against the back of your skates, and you should be able to wiggle your toes up and down.

    Hitting the ice

    Once you've got your doctor’s approval and basic apparel, you're ready to go skating. You can choose a public skate time at your local rink and try it out on your own.

    You can invest in group or private lessons. Or you can ask a friend or family member who knows how to skate to help you learn.

    You’ll probably fall a few times along the way, so it’s important to learn how to fall in ways that will minimize your risk of injury. Tuck your hands in close so other skaters don't run over your fingers when you are down.

    Try to relax as you fall, so you don't land too stiffly. Protect your wrists, elbows, hips, and knees if possible. If you can, land on your backside. That's the least likely part of your body to get injured.

    Practice stopping as soon as you can. This will be your most important skill.

    You can use the T-stop, where you drag one skate behind the other at a 45-degree angle. Or you can use the snowplow stop, where you push your skates apart and form a pigeon-toed position, using the inside of the blades to shave the ice and slow your momentum.

    Try not to become discouraged. Remember you're learning something entirely new. It’s important to be patient with yourself and enjoy the journey.

    Before long, you may find yourself dreading the summer months because ice skating is so much fun!

    Written by The Healthline Editorial Team

    Infused vs Non-Infused Synthetic Ice?

    Infused vs Non-Infused Synthetic Ice?
    There are many things to consider when purchasing a synthetic ice rink including whether to go with an "infused" or "non-infused" surface. Infused or "self lubricating" synthetic ice panels are manufactured with a slip agent additive... 

    Read more

    Southern Exposure for Backyard Rinks

    Southern Exposure for Backyard Rinks

    pond hockeyThe days when ice skating was only available to the masses throughout the winter months are no longer. The local ice Arena was the only option for anyone that wanted a leisurely skate at a moment’s notice, other than that you needed to live in the Northern hemisphere and wait for the pond to freeze over.

    People wonder why winter sports like Ice Hockey, Figure Skating and Curling become so popular every four years during the Olympic Games. The reason I would say is partly because to grow the game you need the ice that comes with it….and to make it yourself would cost a LOT of money… until now.

    Ice Developments

    lloyd cookTimes have certainly changed with the development of new synthetic ice plastics that are portable and easy to assemble to create your own artificial ice rink virtually anywhere. Over the years the polymer industry has made huge strides in creating hardened plastics that have changed the way we live.

    Plastics manufactured today are durable enough for knee and hip replacements. They are also resistant enough to handle the wear and tear of ice skating on a flat sheet….and yes, these plastics are very similar in a lot of ways.

    plastic kneeThe big difference between todays synthetic ice plastics and those from the early days is what actually makes the surface slippery. In the early days, most surfaces were simply a large white cutting board with oils applied (yes, I said oils) to make it slippery enough to skate on.

    That would be ideal today if you wanted to slice up a nice salad with your skates but probably wouldn’t be the best option for ice skating. Today’s newer polymer plastics have become denser and abrasive-resistant while surface glide enhancers designed just for synthetic ice have also developed along the way.

    Slippery Solutions

    The biggest development has been in the manufacturing process where plastic ice is now being designed solely for the purpose of ice skating. The introduction of infused slip agents“slip agents” during manufacturing actually make the plastic slippery enough not to require surface enhancers. Without getting too technical, this development creates way less surface friction and makes it feel much more like you’re on natural ice and the overall experience much more pleasurable. It also creates more options for those who always wanted to try ice skating but it was never an option.

    A New Ice Age Cometh

    Growing up I always remembered looking through the old NHL team Media Guides at some of my favorite hockey players and at the bottom of the page where it said “Birthplace” they ALL said “CANADA”.

    Times have certainly changed over the years as the Sport of Hockey and Figure hockey media guideSkating continues to grow into the South and warmer climate areas. With the introduction of these new synthetic ice plastics backyard rinks can be set-up year-round allowing more great skaters and players to hone their skills.

    With the development of synthetic ice plastics you can look for these sports to continue to grow and develop more players and skaters that may come from some unrecognizable zip codes.


    By Jim Loughran, PolyGlide Ice


    The History of Synthetic Ice

    The History of Synthetic Ice

    Synthetic ice panels are a solid polymer sheet material made from polyethylene plastic. These synthetic ice sheets are connected together using various methods (dovetail, tongue and groove, flush edge) to form an artificial ice skating surface.

    Early implementation of synthetic ice for ice skating dates all the way back to the 1960's when polymer materials became more commonplace in everyday life.

    Over the decades synthetic ice has continued to develop with the use of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and Utra-High Molecular Weight (UHMWPE) being the industry standard among most manufacturers and distributors.

    Low molecular weight plastics are not suitable enough for skating as they are too soft and break down too easily. Polymer surfaces that are too hard strip the skate edge blade down too quickly and limit the amount of time one can skate without loosing their edge.


    Over time different variations of these polymer compounds along with "slip" agent additives continued to improve the overall performance of today’s modern synthetic ice.

    A Synthetic ice rink can virtually be installed in any location or climate condition with relatively easy assembly. With no need for electricity or refrigeration and with the improvement of its overall performance, synthetic ice has become a cost effective substitute to refrigerated ice.


    Surfaces manufactured without a slip agent additive do require a surface lubricant application while others that are infused during manufacturing offer the least amount of surface friction or "coefficient of friction".

    All synthetic ice surfaces need to be kept clean to provide optimal glide and performance so a certain amount of maintenance is required for both infused and non-infused surfaces.

    Skaters can expect 10-15% added friction while skating on synthetic ice which has helped it to become a popular training tool for Hockey Players and Figure Skaters alike.


    As synthetic ice materials continue to develop it has become a more of a practical alternative to natural ice where conditions are not feasible. New developments have closed the gap on a more natural ice "feel" and overall skating experience.