Safe, smooth rinks are weather dependent

Outdoor skating has become one of the most popular winter activities in Edmonton. From flooding backyard rinks for games of shinny to just coasting around a pond with friends and family, Edmontonians have turned the winter recreation into a local pastime.

There are five outdoor skating destinations in Edmonton and each year Parks maintenance staff work hard to prepare the ice so it’s ready for skating as early as possible. The goal is always to have the ice ready before Christmas, but weather ultimately determines when the outdoor surfaces can be ready.

Heavy snowfalls require immediate removal and can prevent crews from flooding ice on lake ponds.

ice clearing- hawreluk-Dec2010

The City’s primary focus when making outdoor ice is safety. Alberta OH&S guidelines require an ice depth of 11” before heavy maintenance equipment can go on the ice to prepare the surface. Once the ice is thick enough, all the snow is cleared and flooding begins. Each time it snows, the ice must be cleared again. Large snowfalls can take days to remove from a large area like Hawrelak lake.

As the weather changes, so too does the ice as it expands, contracts and cracks, requiring additional attention because conventional flooding is not adequate.

Watch what it takes to get outdoor ice ready:

It’s a lot of work (particularly in crazy winters like we’re having now), but having quality outdoor skating opportunities for residents to enjoy makes it totally worth it.

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