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Our Backyard "Pond"
Since my Dad took me skating every winter when I was a kid, and now having a 3 year old son of my own that enjoys watching hockey with his father, I bestowed it upon myself to build a backyard rink this past winter. I really wanted to teach my son how to skate in our very own backyard, and plus it was a good excuse to get my wife on skates as well, since she has never skated before! This was my first time at building a "backyard rink" and overall I would say it was a success. Before building the rink itself I read a lot about "what to do, and especially about what not to do" to have a successful backyard rink. As everyone from Minnesota knows the 2006-2007 winter started out cold but turned out to be unseasonably hot for Minnesota, with daily temperatures in the high 50's. This made for our "inaugural" 30x50 rink a mess at first, and I almost threw-in the towel. As the winter progressed, and it turned colder the rink was successful, and made for some great family and friend gatherings at our backyard homemade "pond". This fall I plan to build a bigger back-drop with chain-link fencing to stop all the flying pucks, and add some higher boards with treated fence posts on the net end of the rink. Enjoy the photos of our "pond"
"Fire and Ice" Night skate
Spring thaw until next season........
Backyard Rink Resources/Websites etc.
Formanekpond.com- Great Minnesota Backyard rink site, even a backyard scoreboard!
8-29-07 Summer rink modifications completed with new "net end" treated posts, plywood, and chain-link fencing to stop all the stray pucks this winter. We also painted all the boards to match our house siding and added blue/red lines on the boards as well. The only thing remaining to do is build a small warming house/shack on top of the wood platform beside the rink, and some painted team logos on the "net-end" plywood. Until then we patiently await the cold weather and LOTS of ice!!
11-24-07 After finally convincing my wife that we needed a warming house this summer and searching for some free wood, I built a "shack" beside our rink for this winters skate. Locally they are constructing a large building and a lot of great wood ended up in the dumpster for anyone's taking. After a few trips with our trailer, and numerous trips to Home Depot/Menards for supplies, we have a nice warming house. Our 9 foot bench that I received for free last year from the now closed Columbia Ice Arena in Fridley, MN fits nicely inside the shack with plenty of room to spare. We will easily be able to stand up inside with our skates on. I decided to also add a sliding window, propane heat, and lighting within the warming house. After a few coats of paint on the exterior, a few cans of foaming insulation to seal small cracks, and a nicely shingled roof we will definitely keep warm beside the rink this winter! We are all very anxious to try out the rink with the new modifications made this off-season. Until then we are decorating the inside of the shack with posters from our favorite teams: The Minnesota Gophers, and Wild. See ya at the Rink...
12-15-07 We had our first skate of the season today after having some hot early December weather. So far the warming shack, new boards with fencing have been a hit not having to chase pucks into the adjacent snow banks. I have one spot on the ice that is really bugging me since it doesn't want to freeze. I must have made a hole in the tarp below the ice level and cannot find where it is. I tried a trick of placing four 50lb. sand bags inside of the "hole" in the ice and re-freeze the bad spot. After a week or so it looks like it may have done the trick. I guess we will have to purchase a new rink liner from NICE-RINK next season. Until then we are enjoying our rink and "Making Frozen Memories." Enjoy the photos.
Interior of our new warming house. Notice the "home-made" Zamboni
12-28-08 Well after battling last years rink and the dreaded "hole" that wouldn't freeze over I broke down and purchased a new rink liner this fall. After the first snow on a NON-windy day I finally got the liner installed and secured to the rink side-boards using a staple gun. After securing the liner I quickly gave the rink liner a nice coating of water to make sure any wind wouldn't carry the liner away and ruin it, 12+ hours later after dumping enough H20 on the rink, and some help from mother nature's freeze, we have another awesome sheet of ice in the backyard that we have been using for over a month now! The only thing I felt I needed to complete our "pond" was some lights to light up the rink at night. After reasoning with my wife and her telling me "that I needed to wait until after Christmas to purchase any lights", I received a pair of real nice 1000 watt halogen lights from my in-laws as a Christmas gift. After securing a new 8x10 board to the exterior of the warming shack and a new wire run to the lights we now have an illuminated rink for night skating- which is great since it seems it is less windy at night here in Monticello vs. the day-time hours. Enjoy the photos- with many more to come- of our 2008-2009 rink!
2-10-09 Just as mother nature ruined our rink from 2007 with unseasonably hot weather, mother nature wasn't kind again to us this February. On February 9th and 10th it was reported as being "near record high temperatures" by local weather reports, which by the way is NEVER good news to hear as a "backyard rink owner"- especially when your rink is located in a place like ours. Needless to say, our rink was once again ruined. After the early February thaw a good portion of the snow from the surrounding neighborhood, and my backyard, settled down into the lower rink portion of our yard- as you can see from the photos the entire rink, net, and half of the warming house was submerged in water! My meaning of "flooding the backyard rink" meant turning on the frost-free spigot and not actually flooding! It was essentially a helpless feeling looking out at the flooded rink with nothing to do, and to make matters even worse, the weather turned cold days later and froze all of the newly flooded "murky" water. As of now it surely appears that the 2008-2009 rink is finished for the year. I am thankful that nothing inside of the warming house was ruined from the flood. Thinking back about it we were able to enjoy our rink with some fun family skating this season....Gotta love Minnesota winters- "You betcha"