Backyard Rink – The layering

Its been one week since my last post. I’m sure all my readers are anxious to know how the rink is doing. Well, I’ve got good news (and no bad news, unless you think that snow is the devils’ work): the rink is ready for use. My kids were on it this morning and my son came back from his hockey practice to get right back on the ‘good rink’.    

Now let’s be clear, ready for use and excellent are not and should never be synonymous here. The rink has a little over half of its surface pristine like a mirror, while the other half, unfortunately, will make you talk like you are driving on a bumpy dirt road. Cut me some slack,  its only been 9 days since the first spray and some of those days have had continuous snowfalls so I havent been able to water on those days. In actual fact, I would say that I’ve had 5 days of rink building weather (and that includes the freezing rain day).    

Here is a little recap of what has been done since my last entry:    

  • Watering (when not snowing and cold water only to date);
  • Scrapping the ice surface with my amazing shovel (shovel dedicated to this purpose only);
  • Sweeping (yes I sweep, think its important to get all the snow off the ice now to remove all potential imperfections in the ice. Those laughing at this can ask JohnnyCanuck and his kids if the process and the result it provided was worth it last year);
  • Minor patch work (my son is learning lots of good stuff and getting good at this one, plus he now knows what the referees are doing when they pour water on the ice and smack it down with a puck during games).

The big thing now is for less snow days and more cold days (-10 Celsius to -20 Celsius). This will help ensure that the layers I keep putting on will freeze properly and evenly, any colder and I might get caught with what I call ‘layering’, this is my technical term – don’t look it up, you wont find it in any of your dictionaries or encyclopedia. The concept however is simple: if the ambient temperature is less than -20 Celsius, the water coming from the hose, at +4 Celsius, freezes so quickly together that it doesn’t have time to establish a strong and proper bond with the ice below it. In my experience, this then creates a layer or crust of ice that, when walked on or skated on, crumbles and shatters into tiny pieces. Simply put, that’s bad. So, i need at least 2 more weeks of mildly cold weather, after that, the ice base will be thick enough that it’ll be able to survive without much watering or slight watering.    

Here is what it looked like last night and this is what it looks like today. 

Rink at night - Dec 17 2010

Rink at night - Dec 17 2010

You’ll notice the large surface with bumps on the ice near the middle in the night shot.    

Rink in afternoon - Dec 18 2010    

In the day picture, you can see that the ice was used (too bad I thought of taking the shot after the kids came in, duh!).    

P.S. The city’s rinks aren’t open yet. Who’s laughing now? 


Happy Holidays to all!