Outdoor ice skating is starting to become more popular. Due to global warming, there is rarely the opportunity to skate on a river or lake in Essex, but fortunately, there are much safer options springing up all over Essex. From pub gardens (the White Hart Inn in Margetting Tye has had a mini ice rink in past winters), to town centres and parks, there are now several ice rinks throughout Essex to enjoy this winter.
Colchester has built an outdoor ice rink next to the castle for winter 2015/16, which will also feature a Christmas market and fairground rides.
Dovercourt will host a Winter Wonderland with ice rink this year, along with catering and a bar on site. The rink opens in time for Halloween, and there will be spooky parties, live music and even a BBQ bar later in the run up to Christmas.
Southend-on-Sea will also have its own outdoor ice rink, called Skating on Sea. The rink is for children and adults and sessions last for one hour.
If you live in a city or large town, the chances are you have enjoyed an outdoor ice rink in recent years. A festive, fun experience for the whole family, outdoor ice rinks are an excellent way to entertain people in the run up towards Christmas.
This got us thinking – how are outdoor ice rinks put together? What is necessary to keep this pop-up winter wonderland running throughout the cold months? Let’s take a look!
How are outdoor ice rinks put together?
You may think that to create an ice rink you simply have to freeze some water over the surface, but there is in fact a lot more precision than this involved.
If the surface is too thick, the top can become soft or start to melt. Contrarily, if the rink is too thin, then skaters could cut through the ice, causing damage or injury.
The care taken over the applying of the water to be frozen is of the upmost importance in the creation of the perfect outdoor ice rink. It can take several days of slow flowing liquid to reach the perfect thickness and distribution to create the ice rink.
The placement of frozen tubes and insulation to maintain the ice through the season adds an extra layer of complexity to the construction of an outdoor ice rink.
It may seem on paper like a simple practice, but in fact, putting together an outdoor ice rink is very complicated. And putting the rink together is only the start of the process, you then need to keep it running for as many weeks and months as is necessary.For more details, this article provides a good explanation on how they are made: How Ice Rinks are Made.
How are outdoor ice rinks run?
When you have created an outdoor ice rink for public use, it is incredibly important to ensure that the ice does not melt, causing members of the public to be at risk of accident and injury. Sunshine can cause a real problem as the rays can melt the ice.
In order to account for these problems, there are impressive gadgets constantly checking the temperature of the ice to make sure it does not rise above a certain level, and is immediately rectified if it does.
The amount of power needed to keep the tubes under the ice frozen sufficiently to keep the surface perfect is huge. It is essential that a good generator is used to ensure that the ice rink is running successfully for as long as is necessary. It is therefore important for anybody planning to invest in an outdoor ice rink to use a reputable and local generator hire company. Hiring a generator that is guaranteed to keep supplying the power that is necessary to maintain an outdoor ice rink – as with all attractions, what happens behind the scenes is vital to the smooth running of the operation.
It is more complicated than you may think to assemble, engineer and run, but if you ask anybody who is enjoying an outdoor ice rink in the run up to Christmas, they will tell you it is more than worth the work.
Safety When Skating
Ice skating can be a lot of fun, but it can also be dangerous. Falling on hard ice can cause bone fractures and serious head injuries. Chelmsford council provide an advice sheet for Riverside skaters, so read this before putting your skates on: Tips for new skaters (Chelmsford City Council).