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This winter has been an unusual one in terms of finding activities to keep us busy, entertained, and active. Orders to stay at home or limit gathering sizes are popping up as constant reminders on our daily social media news feed, leaving families looking for creative ways to have fun at home. While some people have taken to building snow sculptures, enjoying outdoor sporting activities, or conquering their favourite tobogganing hills, others are still looking at ways to have the most fun right in their own backyard. If you have space, the time, and the desire to strap on your skates whenever you want, building your own backyard skating rink might be your solution for some socially distanced, at-home fun. Who knows, with all the time you can spend skating on your own rink, you may end up training to be Canada’s next Sydney Crosby. Here is how you can make your very own backyard rink this winter in 5 simple steps.

 

Step 1: Map It Out

Choose a place to build your rink, typically close to a water source so that when it is time to flood the surface you won’t have to man an obstacle course to do it. Begin by packing a 2 inch base of snow as a platform for your rink. Next, build up a raised border around the perimeter of your rink using materials such as 2×4 lumber or some large PVC piping. If you are looking for a cost-free option, build up snow mounds completely around the rink’s surface to serve as marked edges.  

 

Step 2: Strengthen Your Base

Lightly spray the 2-inch base you packed in step one with water. When spraying, avoid a hard spray so as to not damage the layer of snow that will make up your rink. Allow the dampened snow to freeze, and repeat with a second layer of lightly sprayed water. Do this several times to create a protective barrier that will prevent water from soaking the ground when you floor your rink. 

 

Step 3: Time To Flood

Next on the to-do list is flooding your rink. Once the base is solid and the sides are intact, spray thin layers of water over your rink to achieve a solid freeze. Repeat this step for three to four days before using your rink. Make sure to check your weather forecast ahead of time; if you are having unseasonably warm temperatures, this may not work as well. Ideally, you want to be flooding your rink around the -5 degree celsius marker for optimal results.

 

Step 4: Strap On Your Skates

Once the rink is built, lace up your skates and enjoy some quality ice time in your very own backyard! Whether you are looking to practice your slapshot, or nail a triple axel, the time is now! Remember to use safety precautions, wear protective gear, and enjoy a hot cup of cocoa once you return indoors. 

Step 5: Maintenance

Wear and tear will occur over time, especially with frequent use. Fill in any uneven ice or holes with a snow/water slush and allow it to freeze again before re-flooding your rink. Flooding should take place regularly, about 1-2 times per week, but only after any new snow has been removed with a push shovel. If you are feeling particularly eager to have the full on Canadian experience, try creating your very own DIY Zamboni for some more winter fun.


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