Build a Skating Rink they said…? Hose I thought!

Everyone needs a job. I used to have a job. For over 30 years I operated a skating rink. I made ice, hot dogs, fries and enough coffee to sink a ship. Now in my incarcerated retirement here in winter, I’m making a skating rink, a pond by a local name.

In my case I would have a bit of a head start. We have a pond, the muddy puddle as the grandkids would call it. Too small I grumbled. If I’m going to do this it will be at the very least too big. The size of this skating pond was agreed upon. Everyone at this meeting had a different idea of the size agreed upon but agreement we had.

The simple minded among you will say big deal. It is cold, add water and Bob’s your uncle. No, no, no, building an outdoor skating pond is a science and I would be working with and applying science to get the best damn pond we could have. All this time thinking about building the pond I have an image of my Dad coming in from outside with 100 feet of hose over his shoulder. He was heading to the bath tub to try to thaw the hose out.

This picture was cemented into my mind. Appropriate ‘hose management’ would have to be employed. I did have the hot tub in mind as a great place to thaw hoses if required. I looked it up on the google-izer. The only helpful thing I could find was a reference to Ho’ management but that is completely different and freezing up is not a worry.

A tip for others, build the pond as close as possible to the source of the water. The less hose or ho’s for that matter you have the easier it will be to maintain. So, the site of our pond is a far as one can get from the source of the water that you can get on our property. It takes 250 feet of hose to reach the furthest part of the ice.

Building an outdoor ice skating pond is a lonely and for the most part dark experience. You must be prepared to suit up every hour, drag the hose out and walk back and forth for a half hour to apply a flood to the ice. I have seen the results of instant rink building. Lets use a sprinkler and let it go all night… The resulting ice sculpture lasts until about August. Water must be applied to avoid hollow ice and to create a smooth substrate to fall on.

Oh ya, I did fall. The fastest a human body can move is when you get a small amount of snow under your boot and away you go. It hurt. The human body tries to protect itself. This results in hurting parts of your body that otherwise might have survived. I speak of my neck and wrist. Remember cartilage, when you are not 67 it exists in your joints. That was ten days ago, most of the pain is gone now…

Part two tomorrow.