Backyard Rink – Year 2

Well it’s that time of the year, where people are either extremely happy that the snow is here or sad and depressed because it means it’s cold and we are going to be stuck indoors for the next 3-4 months. I’m in the first group: it’s not that I downhill ski (I don’t), it’s not that I snowboard (I don’t), it’s not that I like shovelling the city’s snow from my driveway ( I really, really don’t), it’s not that I actually like snow (I don’t mind it) it’s simply that for me it beats living in areas of Canada where, admittedly it stays above freezing for much of the winter, but it rains for most of that time. In Montreal, I can go outside and find plenty of activities to do and when it’s all said and done, I can wipe the snow off when I get inside. I can actually feel good about sending the kids outside to play in the snow day in, day out. How many people can say that of the rain?

The start of something new

For me the only rain that is acceptable in winter is the one that shoots out of my hose onto my backyard rink. Yep, I’m up to it again this year but with a few changes:

  1. The size of the rink has quadrupled;
  2. I’m using way more plastic film (actually ran out and required a quick stop at Rona);
  3. I’ll probably put some boards on the ends;
  4. I hope to have it ready for Xmas.

So when I told my kids I was starting it last Thursday, they woke up on Friday morning and said: ‘Is it ready, can we skate on it?’

Ah the innocence of youth. I only wish it was do-able that quickly. I started by shoveling my yard to get a large portion of the snow off the grass to get my tarp down. Once I layed out 2/3 of it, I ran out of tarp. Note to self: MEASURE the space before starting, moron. Grumble, grumble…

Laying the tarp took quite a bit of time, I was trying to make sure that I had enough tarp to hang over the sides and the ends to insure only minimal water leakage occurs if and when the weather gets warmer. So far, its about 6 to 10 inches about the ice base I’ve got going. The other item to look out for is in ensuring the different layers of tarps overlap enough to also have minimal water loss. This reduced the overall width I had planned by about 2 feet but it’s not something the kids will notice.

Once that was done, I shoveled the snow back onto the tarp (it is easier with a base if you have an uneven yard in my opinion). Then I smacked it down  (really smacked, not patted it down) to get a tight layer. I then spent an hour watering the snow to try and get an initial layer of ice down. At that point, it was 11:15pm and my hands were frozen, I headed inside.

Getting laid part 2

Later Friday afternoon, once my wife had gone to work, I loaded up the kids in the car and header to Rona to get more tarp. Once we got home with the tarp, I planned to lay it down once the kids were in bed. So around 8:30pm I went outside to complete shovelling my grass and laying down the last strip of tarp. Not to feel pressured in any way but I had a WoW raid to get in on at 9:30pm. That gave me less than one hour to shovel, lay, shovel, flatten, water and put my hose away. Luckily, it all went well and at 9:35pm I was inside ready to raid. I’ve now got a rink that’s 22 feet wide by 45 feet long.

Saturday was not cold enough to do any watering so I left it alone.

Sunday, the snow came with some freezing rain. This isn’t perfect but it’s better than full on rain and plus 3 Celcius temperature. Lets hope that it rains and goes below freezing tonight, I need some help getting the base set up… Time to come to bat Mother Nature.

Backyard Rink - Pre-season 2

Backyard Rink - Pre-season 2

I’ll be in the Cataclysm in the meantime…

(To be continued)