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By: Bill Arnold

It is a weird thing that happens to you once you put an ice rink in your backyard.

When you were a kid the weather never really mattered to you.Summers were hot and you always had something to do.Winters were cold and you still always had something to do.You got up in the morning, ate breakfast and went outside.If your parents were lucky they saw you for lunch, otherwise they didn’t see you until supper.Whether it was spring, summer, fall or winter the only weather that stopped this scenario was rain.You never really complained about it being too hot or too cold and let’s face it you wished for more snow, not less.


You grow up, get a job, get married and have kids.All of a sudden winter cold is an unwelcomed thing.You spend the winter wishing for warm weather and dread the forecast for snow.You start taking vacations in the winter to warmer climates, like Caribbean cruises in February.You are not alone in your desire for warmer weather as your peers at work and friends and family readily agree with you when you say “I can’t wait for spring!”

You decide to put in a backyard rink one winter, because it seemed like a good idea and you had the yard space to do it.You assemble the frame, put in the liner and fill it up.At that very instant you are transformed into the weirdest person your friends and family know.You are actually wishing for colder weather.When the temps rise above 32F you start to worry what that will do to your rink, while everyone else around you thinks “Why can’t it be this warm ALL WINTER?”

After your first season ends and you take down the rink you are already starting to think about next year’s rink.Could it be bigger?Could you set it up earlier and get more use out of it?Should you level the yard a bit so you can make other changes to the rink (size, shape, location, use less water)?Your second season with the rink comes about and you are more intent on having cold than the first season.You are officially hooked!

If you are lucky you find a group of peers that are in the same situation, they are rink builders too.You share stories of your time on your rink.The group discusses tips and tricks they have all learned on how to maintain the ice once it has frozen.You share your construction techniques with newcomers.Most of all you realize you are not alone in your dreams of long cold winters.You realize that you are not the only one in your backyard at 1:00 am with a hose putting water on your rink in 5 degree (F) weather, just so you can have a smooth skating surface tomorrow.

The transformation is complete; you are a “Rink Master”.You welcome the winter with open arms and the cold temps don’t bother you in the least.You don’t mind the snow as much even though you now have to do two to three times the shoveling since you put in the rink.The Winter is too short and the Summer is too long.Being a “Rink Master” is an adventure and every season brings new challenges and new thrills.

From one “Rink Master” to another…“Welcome to the club, you are officially a member!”

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