Glice is building artificial skating rinks with plastic panels instead of ice

On Roofs or in Basements, a New Way to Ice Skate

You can use Glice rinks year-round or in tropical climates.

Alyson Krueger at the New York Times:

Glice is arguably more ecologically conscious and certainly more convenient than traditional ice rinks, which require large amounts of water and electricity, as well as noisy, cumbersome machines including refrigeration systems and compressors.

“In the past I worked for a hotel that had a traditional ice skating rink,” [said David Lemmond, general manager of the William Vale hotel, which has a Glice rink installed]. “You wouldn’t believe the logistics of it. It requires an enormous amount of infrastructure to keep frozen water frozen”: water tank, refrigerated pipes, 24-hour compressor and the famous Zamboni, which re-cuts the surface after it gets marked up and lays down a new layer of water to freeze.

Critics argue that Glice rinks are still bad for the environment because they are made of, well, plastic. But the company replies that this plastic is durable, with panels lasting 12 years, after which you can flip them over, and use them for another 12….

But skating on a Glice rink is not a perfect substitute for the romantic capades of yore. There are no grooves from skaters or marks that show where a turn was made. There are no timeouts for the Zamboni, or cold air coming off the surface. Flushed cheeks, sparkling eyes and visible puffs of breath are not a given.

“It definitely takes some getting used to,” said Mr. Moore at the William Vale. “There are some differences. It doesn’t quite bite as much when you dig into the ice, so most people find it more slippery at first.” It takes about 15 minutes for skaters to adjust, he said. Many people do a shuffle-like motion until they realize they can make longer strides.

No Zamboni? That’s just wrong!

Mitch W @MitchW