Indoor Ice Skating

Moving on ice using skates can be done either in indoor tracks that are specifically built for this activity, or in outdoor tracks, which can be both man-made and naturally occurring frozen bodies of water like ponds, lakes, and rivers. Ice skating is a popular sports and recreational activity, as well as a means for travel.

There are thousands of ice skating rinks through the world, but for now let us center on indoor ice skating. It is noteworthy that there are many temporary ice rinks that have surfaced, but these make use of wax instead of ice, making them very difficult to skate on.

Indoor ice skating rinks has an advantage over outdoor rinks in that it is more consistent in terms of its surface, as opposed to outdoor rinks, which can have varying ice quality. Indoor conditions can be set and controlled, like for example, keeping the skating surface at 24 to 26 degrees Fahrenheit, and the humidity at around 30 percent. It also permits adjustments in periods of warm outdoors, in order to adjust in turn the quality of the ice. Indoor ice skating rinks have dehumidifiers in the building to achieve a low humidity and keep the air dry, as high humidity creates fogs over the ice.

As already mentioned, ice skating was used in order to get across frozen waterways in Europe thousands of years ago. In the early 1900s, however, modern ice rinks became very popular, thanks to brothers Lester and Joe Patrick, who started hockey leagues in Canada. The first ever indoor ice skating rink to be opened was in Victoria, Canada, an initiative of the two brothers, and this was then cost a little more than $ 100,000, with a capacity of 4,000 people. Vancouver, Canada saw another ice skating rink days after, doubling the cost of the previous rink, but was able to seat 10,000 people. The brothers then started building ice skating arenas also in the United States and western Canada, and to date, the US has more than 1,700 ice skating rinks, and cost millions of dollars to built, in contrast to the hundred thousand dollar arena in Victoria.

Indoor ice skating rinks work pretty much like air conditioning units and refrigerators. Underneath these rinks are intensive refrigeration and ice-making systems that maintain the ice surface all year round. The refrigerant in this system cools brinewater which is actually a calcium chloride solution, and which is then pumped through pipes under underah the rink. Because good ice is attained through controlling both indoor and outdoor temperatures, there can be great variations during temperature changes, even with just a one-degree change. In countries with warm weather, there is a possibility for the ice to soften, while in the low temperature countries, skating rinks need to be heated still to maintain good ice.