How To Create the Perfect Outdoor Ice Rink
The Rosemont Ice Guys share the secret behind making the best outdoor rink
Since 1965, Confederation Park has benefited from two rinks maintained by volunteers called the Rosemont Ice Guys. Kurt Westergard, an Ice Guy since 2005, tells us how these rink rats make ice so good, the Calgary Herald voted theirs the “Best Outdoor Skating Rink” in 2011.
What makes a good ice rink?
“It’s all about the foundation and the layers. The more layers, the stronger the ice. It’s like a samurai sword; the more folds on the sword, the stronger the blade. Typically, we put on a really light coat first to bond to the old layer, and then we put on a nice, generous layer.”
When is the best time to water the ice?
“We do it at 8 o’clock every Thursday and Monday night.”
How many sheets of ice do you average a year?
“That really varies from year to year. This past year, we had a record 74 coats on both the upper and lower rinks.”
What is the best temperature to lay a new coat?
“We typically love -12C. At about -18C, it won’t work because the hose will freeze up, and, once that happens, you’ve got to reel that python inside!”
When can we expect to hit the ice this year?
“Well, it really varies. We had a record year last year, with the first skaters on Nov. 9 and skateable ice by Nov. 20. The season can go up until February, maybe March 5, and then that’s it, it’s done.”