So What Exactly Is Synthetic Ice?
Synthetic ice is an inner core of plywood, which is laminated on both sides with a gliding surface of high-density polymer ethylene. This surface is especially designed for skating use, and is tinted an ice color. The surface provides resistance to abrasion and skate nicks.
Description: A panel (1) consists of an inner core of plywood laminated on both sides with a gliding surface (2) of high-density polymer ethylene, especially designed for skating use and tinted with a natural ice color throughout. This gliding surface provides a high resistance to abrasion and skate nicks. The edges of the standard panel are grooved (3) to join the assembly unit. The standard panels are put together with a system of plastic splines (4).
||• Overall length: 48″• Overall width: 48″• Heavy Duty overall thickness: 1¼”
• Light Duty overall thickness: 1”
• Plastic spline: 5/16″ x 7/8″
• Thickness of gliding sheet: 1/4″
• Weight of panels:
It is sold in panels that are then locked together. It has a life expectancy of over 20 years. According to one of the manufacturers’ websites, accidents/injuries are almost non-existent compared to real ice. It is generally cheaper to rent time on synthetic ice than real ice. It can be installed in your basement, barn, or just about anywhere. It does need to be kept cool, but not refrigerated like real ice. Using an air conditioning would be the best option to keep the faculity cool. Below is a chart listing the pros and cons of synthetic ice, please keep in mind that some of these are from the manufacturers, and some are from our own experiences.
• Can be used anywhere, year round, over any solid surface.
• Cheaper than renting real ice.
• Anyone can purchase and maintain it; you do not have to be a company or business. It can be installed on just about any solid surface.
• The only routine maintenance that needs to be done is scrubbing with a commercial scrubber and vacuuming.
• Dulls skate blades. One manufacturer’s website claimed there were no more than one sharpening needed per four hours. Our own experience has been one sharpening per one hour of synthetic ice time!
• Not the same feel/glide as real ice.
• Skating on synthetic ice may tend to cause minute particles of the ice to be released into the air. While we cannot find any literature addressing this, we have noticed some people with increased bouts of sneezing and coughing after skating, or being in an enclosed area where synthetic ice is being skated on.
The following table provides a detailed comparison of requirements pertaining to a standard 200′ x 85′ refrigerated and synthetic ice rink with a column ranking the favored rink.
Improve all your hockey goaltending skating skills on synthetic ice
• Quickness / Mobility / Agility
• and much more…
Synthetic ice has become increasingly popular over the last six years, probably in large part due to the ever-increasing cost of ice rental, especially for group or private lessons. While we do not believe it will ever be used routinely for games, it is a viable alternative for many people for training. We think it is mostly a matter of personal preference, and only time will tell just how successful it will be in the long term.