• Synthetic
    Sports

    How Synthetic Ice can Help You Create a Home Skating Rink

    If you enjoy ice skating but don’t like waiting in lines or having to go in public so you can get a good skating session in, you’ve probably wondered about making your own skating rink. If you live in the right part of the country, all you really need to do is wait for winter then find a nice frozen pond and you can skate to your heart’s content, but other parts of the country are a little trickier to get your skating fix. If you don’t live in a part of the country that gets that cold, you may want to look into getting some synthetic ice so you can create your own skating rink. 

    What Exactly is Synthetic Ice?

    Synthetic ice is a relatively new product, and many people may still be unaware of it. So, what exactly is synthetic ice? Well, the simple answer is that it’s a synthetic material that emulates ice and allows you to skate on it using regular metal skates. It’s used by hockey rinks all around the country because it doesn’t melt, so they don’t have to worry about keeping the rink at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, or 0 degrees Celsius, for those readers that don’t live in the United States. 

    The less simple answer is a little more involved. Synthetic ice is a solid polymer panel that is specially designed for skating. Rinks are created with interlocking tiles, and because of this, the entire rink is modular. If one tile somehow manages to get broken, all you need to do is replace that single tile instead of having the entire rink serviced. 

    Synthetic ice has been used in some form since the 1960s. The first synthetic ice that was used wasn’t very good for skating, and it was made from polyoxymethylene plastic, as well as a few other materials. This didn’t allow for skaters to glide as easily as ice and it got a buildup of dirt and debris, so it made things even more tricky for those that were trying to skate on it. 

    In 1962 someone else tried using this first form of synthetic ice, but this time with some added gliding spray. The gliding spray actually worked out great, but the rink did need to be resprayed at least once a month to keep things running smoothly, but when the rink wasn’t sprayed down it was usable for other sporting activities. 

    In the last 60 years, there has been a lot of improvement. New specially designed polymers were designed and created specifically with ice skating in mind, and new kinds of lubricants were invented to go along with the new polymers to help keep the rink clean and in great shape for ice skaters. At this point in time, many people estimate that synthetic ice allows skaters to glide with 90% of the efficiency of real ice. 

    Is Synthetic Ice Better Than Real Ice?

    Now, synthetic ice and real ice are two very different things. Synthetic ice was designed in a lab specifically with ice skating in mind, and ice is, well. Water that is below the freezing temperature. Both synthetic and natural ice have their pros and cons and deciding which one is better really depends on what your needs are. 

    For example, if you want the maximum glide factor, you’re gonna want to go with real ice. The reason for this is that natural ice melts a little bit from the friction of your skates. This provides a small layer of water that keeps you gliding along and skating to the best of your ability. There’s also a lot less resistance when you’re gliding on natural ice. If you’re seeking peak performance and nothing else matters, natural ice is going to be your best bet. 

    If you’re willing to take a hit on performance for convenience, synthetic ice is going to be your best bet. It’s not quite as good as regular ice, and it could take another ten years at least for it to get to that point, but it gets the job done and it doesn’t require a freezing room for it to be stored. It also takes a bit more effort to skate on synthetic ice than natural ice, but that could be exactly the edge that your training needs.

    Really, if you’re hosting a big event, you might want to spring for real ice. It will make sure that all of your skaters can skate to the best of their ability, which will allow for much more interesting competitions. However, if you’re just looking to turn your basement into a skating rink, you’ll probably want to go with synthetic ice. The only real alternative is to flood your basement intentionally then keep it at freezing temperatures, and none of that is feasible for the most part. 

    Flooding your basement can damage a lot of the sensitive systems in your house, so that should be avoided at all costs. Synthetic ice allows for easy installation because it’s just like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, but it adds the ability to remove it whenever you like. In a home setting, synthetic ice also requires less upkeep. 

    Why Would Someone go Through the Trouble of Creating an Indoor Skating Rink at Their House? 

    If you stumbled onto this article by chance, there are good odds that you’re wondering why someone would go through all the trouble to create their own indoor skating rink in their house. After all, there are a lot of year-round skating rinks that allow anyone to practice as long as they have the money to enter. To many, creating a home skating rink may even sound a bit frivolous, especially with the existence of skating rink businesses. 

    There are many reasons why someone might find a home rink appealing. One of the biggest reasons is that it actually saves money in the long run. Let’s say that it costs $15 per person to go to the skating rink, but your indoor skating rink would cost roughly $3000. In just 200 uses it’s already paid for itself, assuming that you’re the only one that’s using it. If you let your friends and family use the rink you built as well it will pay for itself a lot faster.

    Advantages of Synthetic Ice over Conventional Ice - GliceRink

    Another big reason why people go through all the trouble is because of the hours of operation of skating rinks. If you’ve ever had trouble sleeping and wanted something to do to kill some time you probably already know all about how it feels when you can’t do the one thing you want to do. Having your own rink means that you can go skating whenever you want, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

    That also means that if something big like a pandemic happens that forces all of the rinks to close, you’d still have a place to practice without having to worry too much about the availability of rinks. If someone is a competitive ice skater, they can’t really afford to go months or even years without practicing. They want to be sure that they stay in their tip-top shape when competitions resume. 

    Some people also enjoy the wow factor that it brings to their home. Many people visit and will be amazed at the skating rink that the person owns, and might even have some fun skating on it themselves. For those that want to impress their friends and loved ones, owning their own rink can easily accomplish that goal. 

    On top of everything else that we’ve already mentioned, it brings a sense of wonder into your home that is hard to capture otherwise. You might remember being a kid and how exciting it was to go to the ice rink and skate around with your parents. Owning an ice rink in your own basement, garage, backyard, or anywhere else you might want to put it allows you to capture that magic again, and carry it with you for as long as you live in that house. 

    Really, the only reasons why you might not want to get your own skating rink are that you don’t skate so it wouldn’t make sense, you can’t afford it, or you don’t have a space to put something like that. A good at-home skating rink is a great investment for just about anyone that enjoys ice skating. 

    Ice Skate at Your Leisure

    Most people are looking for some level of control in their lives. We do, after all, live in a very chaotic world. When people want to practice their hobbies, whether they’re a musician, stamp collector, or ice skater, they want somewhere they can hone their craft in peace. Synthetic ice has made this a much easier task for ice skaters. You can make your very own synthetic ice skating rink just about anywhere in the world, then you can skate to your heart’s content practically any time you could want to.

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    Sports

    How to Hockey Deke on Synthetic Ice

    Being able to pull sick dekes takes a lot of work and practice. If you think it is harder to pull dekes on synthetic ice, think again. Once you have mastered the moves of the deke, there is no stopping you. If you don’t know what a deke is, keep reading you are about to find out.

    The Hockey Deke

    The concept of a deke is to trick your opponent into going in the opposite direction that you are going. For example, say you have the puck and are rapidly approaching the goalie. You want to slap the puck in for a score, but you need the goalie to move out of the way. In a quick instant, you feign to shoot for the right side of the goal in a way that is convincing enough that the goaltender moves toward that side of the goal to defend it, while you quickly switch your stance and slap the puck in the left corner of the goal to make a point. When you have fooled the goalie into thinking they are going to stop your shot, you have successfully implemented a deke.

    Practicing the Deke

    If you have a synthetic ice practice area in your home, you are in luck. It just so happens that when you combine a hockey passer with a hockey shooting tarp on synthetic ice flooring you get the perfect ingredients to practice the epic dekes that you need to have in order to dominate the game. Some of the most important things that you need to practice great dekes are:

    • Hockey flooring (synthetic ice)
    • Hockey passer
    • Hockey shooting tarp
    • Lots of hockey pucks
    • Hockey stick

    With these, you can successfully practice sick dekes whenever you want.

    The Hockey Passer

    The hockey passer is a key element in the process of training for deke moves. The reason why it is so important is that you can pass pucks to it as fast or slow as you want them to return to you. When you master the force of your passes and shots you have more control of how the puck acts after it leaves your blade and slides across the floor. When you set up your rebounder where you slap a puck at it with speed and allow it to return to you with some heat you can practice shots from the rebound to the hockey tarp. You can pinpoint where you want to put the puck on every shot. When you repeatedly make shots off of the cuff with the rebounder you are training yourself for quick shots with quick actions right on the spot. This way, when it is time to make the deke in real life, you have the skills to make it happen right there ingrained in your muscles.

    Ice Skating On Synthetic Ice

    People that have never skated on synthetic ice panels before don’t understand how similar to real ice that it is, once you get used to it. Anything that you can do on real ice, you can do on fake ice. Maybe even better, with practice. Although there is a slight drag because of a little more resistance when skating on synthetic ice, there is not much difference. The one thing that makes synthetic ice skating better is that the little bit of resistance that is present helps to build muscle, strength, and stamina. You can practice on a synthetic ice rink for a while, then when you go back to skating on real ice will be that much easier for you because your skating muscles will be stronger and in better shape than before. Keep practicing and don’t allow any excuses to slow you down. You will be pulling the sickest dekes on the best goalies in no time.

    ***Sniper’s Edge Hockey loves Canada! We proudly ship all of our products to Canada and offer the same return policies as we do for everybody else. We realize the exchange rates for the Canadian dollar are not the best right now, so we’re trying to help by giving you free shipping and no customs/duty.***

  • Does Synthetic Ice Ruin Ice Skates?
    Sports

    Does Synthetic Ice Ruin Ice Skates?

    Because of the current pandemic, millions of ice skaters and hockey players are choosing to install synthetic ice in their homes so that they can continue to skate and practice hockey even though they are stuck at home. This is a great idea because when this whole thing is all over the players that have been sitting on the couch playing video games are going to have a lot of catching up to do. The wise players will continue to practice and keep their skills in tip-top shape so that when the time comes they will dominate the rink.

    What About the Ice Skates?

    As for whether or not synthetic ice ruins ice skates, let’s start by listing a few things that will definitely ruin the blades of ice skates:

    • Hard flooring
    • Rocks
    • Mineralized ice
    • Metal shavings
    • Coins
    • Walking

    When it comes to the health and quality of your ice skates one of the worst things you can do is walk across the food with them as if they were shoes. Whenever you put your whole weight onto the blades and step on things like small rocks, coins, debris, and whatever else that can be harder than the material that your skates are made out of you can seriously damage your ice blades.

    Ice Skating on Ice

    Whenever a person skates across an ice rink, a little bit of science gets involved. What happens is that the friction from the ice skate blades moving across the ice causes enough heat to melt the ice in a minuscule area that acts as a lubricant to help the skaters glide across the surface. As the blades continue to move across the ice, the perpetual movement causes a constant supply of natural lubricant so that as long as the skates keep moving, they can continue to slide gracefully across the surface.

    Ice Skating on Synthetic Ice

    In the early 1960s, when synthetic ice first became public, there were a lot of problems that came with it. Back in those days, the type of plastic that was used to create the flooring was not the same as it is today. At first, there had to be a constant source of lubricant in order for skaters to continually glide across the surface. Even with the lubricant, the drag that the plastic caused made it difficult for skaters to move in a graceful manner. Although it seemed like an impossible feat to create an ice-like surface that skaters could get a real feel on, the developers kept trying for many years to come.

    The synthetic ice of today has evolved a long way and is now able to deliver its own lubricating system. Now, much like real ice, when the skates glide across the surface the blades activate the self-lubricating system to produce a gentle, but effective slippery skating area that is quite a bit like the real thing. As the ice skating blades make their way across the surface, the friction causes the lube to form and keep the motion of the skater as smooth and graceful as possible.

    As for Skate Damage

    When it comes down to it, there is not much of a threat of ruining your ice skates because of skating on synthetic ice. In fact, you might be more apt to hurt your blades by skating on real ice because of the metal shavings that can build up just under the surface of the ice after years of buildup and metal blades leaving behind traces of metal. Synthetic ice is made out of durable, but softer than metal plastic. Since this type of flooring is less dense than the metal that skates across it there is no threat of damage to the blades.

    Conclusion

    If you install and use synthetic ice properly it will not cause damage to your skates and will give you a great flooring area to practice and play games on for years to come. If you install a hockey shooting tarp to go with it you can even improve your shooting skills just like you would if you were shooting on real ice. At the end of the day, installing synthetic ice can ultimately improve your game and give you a perfect place to practice in the comfort of your own home.

  • synthetic ice
    Sports

    Are Synthetic Ice Rinks Any Good?

    One of the greatest inventions of the century was synthetic ice. Although it has been through a long evolutionary process, the quality of the synthetic ice that is available on the market today is high and of excellent standing. However, one question remains among a lot of inquirers today, and that is whether or not synthetic ice rinks are actually any good to skate on. We will let you in on a few facts about synthetic ice compared to other types of flooring and let you decide on your own.

    The Evolution of Synthetic Ice

    Sometime in the 1960s, a group of people got together and developed a type of flooring made from a material known as polyoxymethylene plastic. In the beginning, it was extremely difficult for skaters to skate across the surface without some sort of lubricant. As time moved forward, the synthetic ice began to get better in quality. The lubricant went from having to be applied every thirty minutes or so to once a month. The flooring became easier and easier for skaters to skate around on it. As science and technology continued to move forward, so did the developers of synthetic ice. Now, in this present day, synthetic ice is almost as good as the real thing. In some ways, it is even better.

    Traditional Ice Rinks

    Traditional ice rinks are made out of real ice. This means that the flooring has to be kept below the freezing temperature. Since ice rinks are typically large in size this calls for a huge space to be refrigerated and maintained by some sort of cooling system. Systems that need to keep things very cold in a large space use a lot of energy and that energy costs quite a bit of money. It also can cause pollution and the emission of toxins into the atmosphere. Real ice is much smoother and better to ice skate on, but the whole maintenance drama that goes along with it might be more of a hassle than it is worth.

    Synthetic Ice Rinks

    Synthetic ice rinks are much more efficient than the traditional ice rinks because they do not have to be refrigerated or maintained in any special way. You can install synthetic ice panels in virtually any environment. A person can install synthetic ice outside in the sun, or indoors and in the comfort of their own home. High-quality synthetic ice is equipped with a solution that protects the panels from the UV rays of the sun so it will not deteriorate in the sun’s rays. It also is equipped with a self-lubricating system that will never need to have any extra lubricants or additives in order to be slick and smooth like ice.

    Skating on Synthetic Ice

    Ice skating itself can be difficult for people who aren’t used to it. However, if you have experience skating on ice you will quickly notice that there is a difference between real ice and artificial ice. Not a huge difference, but enough to notice. There will be a slight drag for skaters compared to the free flow of real ice. Real ice melts a little bit under the heat of the ice skates which makes it extremely difficult to replicate exactly. However, the drag from the synthetic ice gives skaters an extra bit of resistance that will strengthen muscles and add to the core strength that it takes to ice skate in the first place.

    Are Synthetic Ice Rinks Good?

    Synthetic ice, all the way around is a much better option than real ice rinks. Although, if you live in a region that has naturally frozen lakes and ponds to skate on, during the winter months you can’t go wrong. However, if you want to skate all year round in any kind of weather, synthetic ice is an ideal solution that works wonders and allows for quality skating and hockey playing.