Winter is nearly a month early here. The first snowfall stuck, and it’s consistently below freezing. That means that it’s time to build the backyard rink.
The first year I had a tarp. Last year I had boards. I made sure to number them when I stored them for the summer months, making the setup a whole lot easier this year. It’s more like legos… if legos had screws. Better news is that lessons learned from last year were applied.
- Layout of tarp on the most level part of the yard.
- Layout of the board components and braces.
- A bag to carry the screws and joints.
- A fully charge power drill!
- Tighten the tarp as much as possible to avoid folds/ripples
- Set up before the snow
What took close to 6 hours last year was done in about an hour this year. Including having an 8 year old on the drill this year.
Filling in the rink is the perennially painful part. The most level part still has a near 1 foot drop from one corner to the other. It takes a surreal amount of water to fill that in. A slightly different take this year is to wait until there’s snow, which generally auto-levels itself. Then apply the old-school misting of water to build a foundation of ice. The downside to this is that it has to be at least -10C for the water to freeze in a reasonable time and not melt all the snow.
Well, that’s not entirely true. It can’t snow during this time (usually a few days). You can’t stand on it for a while, let alone skate. And it’s been snowing nearly every single day for 3 weeks now. Not exactly easy to get rid of the snow to put more water… keeps breaking the ice. But I’m about 75% of the way now, with 2 more nights of watering to go.
The tarp would be a whole lot more useful for a really level ground. I could fill it 2 inches and let it freeze and be done in a night. Some engineering work for next year.
If things do work out, I should be able to run the rink until mid-February. Considering my kids were on it 5 nights a week last year, that’s a whole lot of use considering the effort to create/maintain it.
Plus, you aren’t really a Canadian unless you play on the outdoor rink, right?