children play hockey on frozen pond outside

With so many recent innovations in synthetic ice technology, it’s natural to wonder how it feels to skate on “plastic ice.” There are many advantages to equipping your home or business with synthetic ice. With leading-edge materials and manufacturing, the skating “feel” of plastic ice has come a long way.

Though plastic ice won’t match the natural ice feel perfectly, synthetic ice offers many advantages that you cannot find skating on a sheet of frozen water.

We’ve assembled several useful tips for seamless transitions between skating on plastic and natural ice. Find out the advantages of getting customized plastic ice tiles for your home or commercial application. In doing so, you can supplement your natural ice skating experience to your benefit.

KwikRink Synthetic Ice is the leader in customized home and commercial synthetic ice rinks. Visit our website today for a free rink quote so you can skate year-round, any time you want.

What Is Plastic Ice?

Synthetic ice is a sheet or sheets of polyethylene plastic. This plastic is cut or molded to standard or custom tile sizes, with a variety of edges for assembly. 

Some tiles (like the ones KwikRink Synthetic Ice offers) have a “puzzle piece” assembly system. This system taps interlocking tiles in place with no additional tools. Other ice tile models feature dovetail, tongue-and-groove, or flush edges to join the tiles.

Since the 1960’s synthetic ice tiles have increased in popularity, due to innovations in plastics technology, like self-lubricating panels. KwikRink Synthetic Ice tiles are all self-lubricating. 

By staying on top of the latest developments in synthetic ice technology, KwikRink provides the smoothest, fastest skating experience in a synthetic ice rink. These self-lubricating panels also lead to lower maintenance — there’s no need to periodically add topical lubricants to it.

Think of how hockey skates work on natural ice (gliding, turning, quick stops). You can see why such a feature as self-lubricating panels would be an easy choice for replicating a natural ice feel.

But How Does Plastic Ice Feel When I Skate on It?

In the highest quality plastic ice rinks, synthetic ice retains about 90% or more of natural ice glide. Of course, there are several criteria to keep in mind when shooting for the most authentic ice feel on your plastic rink:

  1. Quality materials matter. Buying the cheapest rink will NOT pay off in the long haul. The softer the tiles, the more shavings, and friction will build up in a short time. The best investment is to purchase the hardest, most resilient tiles you can afford and insist on a self-lubricating product.
  2. Sharpen your skate blades often. A sharp edge performs the best on synthetic ice, for gliding, stopping, and quick turns.
  3. Ensure a clean surface. Though KwikRink Synthetic Ice tiles boast low maintenance requirements, you’ll still want to keep them clean before and after each use. You will need a cloth push-broom to clear away dust and dirt (especially on outdoor rinks). Additionally, a gentle cleaner to wipe down sweat or spills after each skate helps ensure a superior natural skating feel on your plastic rink.

hockey players in a hockey game on plastic ice with hockey sticks

How Can Plastic Ice Help Me Improve My Hockey Training?

All synthetic ice gives at least a hint of more friction than natural ice. By using plastic ice, you’ll develop some distinct training improvements when you practice regularly on plastic ice. Check it out:

  • Increased speed from pushing off more explosively on synthetic ice.
  • Increased cardio-vascular stamina and muscle endurance from working at slightly higher loads versus natural ice.
  • Enhanced maneuvering precision, direction changes, and stopping. This enhanced performance results from practicing in smaller spaces on synthetic ice (like in the basement or garage.)
  • Synthetic rink versatility leads to more practice time, which results in improved skills. (If you don’t have to wait for winter or reserve arena space to practice, you can work on hockey skills, drills, and scrimmages at any time.)

Other Comparisons to Consider

Playing hockey on plastic ice may also be different because you can customize the size of your rink.

For example, you might set up a small rink at home to work on shooting accuracy or footwork. Or, you could assemble an outdoor rink on a flat surface smaller than regulation size. This size is excellent for some one-on-one pick up games, or a neighborhood set-up for off-ice practice. Ice tiles may even come in handy for exercise at the office.

When deciding the rink you need, think carefully about what you’ll use it for the most. Also, consider what type of space you have available, and how your plastic ice can serve you the best.

ice hockey player in action with hockey pucks and sticks

Plastic Ice: The Clear Advantage for Hockey Players

Synthetic ice offers near-identical ice feel when you purchase a high-quality, self-lubricating system. If you keep the tiles clean and keep your blades sharp each time you skate, you’ll hardly see a difference. 

Further, synthetic ice tiles assemble and tear down in a snap (literally!) They can store away easily piled next to a wall for convenience and to promote effective use of space. When well-maintained, your tiles can last up to 10 years of hockey-skating excellence.

Plastic ice is not weather-dependent and doesn’t require the freezing systems used on indoor natural ice. You can customize your rink size for any function, space, or programming requirements.

Hockey players in every corner of the world can benefit from skating on plastic ice. Especially if you live in warm regions or places without access to indoor arena ice. For localities building their hockey programs from the ground up, synthetic ice can be a massive helping hand in promoting the best sport around (in our humble opinion).

ice hockey puck and sticks on ice with a view of hockey players' legs

KwikRink Is the Leader in Customized Plastic Ice Systems

For superior materials, custom sizing, and exemplary customer service, connect with the professionals at KwikRink Synthetic Ice. Our experienced rink-builders can help you select the products, size, and accessories that check every box on your hockey list.

We provide tool-free interlocking tiles with superior glide and resilience. We also offer top-of-the-line accessories to make your hockey rink everything you need and want. 

Stop by our website today for a free quote, and get skating this month!

 

people playing on a curling rink

Curling is one of the oldest sports still played today. A winter staple in many countries, it is played on a curling rink and has four players per team. Curling may also be one of the only sports that uses a broom throughout the game.

Practicing and playing ice curling on natural ice is ideal, but it is not always an option or convenient.

A great option is a synthetic rink. It is easy to assemble, can fit in most flat surfaces, and is durable as well. Read on to find out how KwikRink Synthetic Ice can provide this for you.

In a Curling Rink: The Basics

According to The Winchester Curling Club, the traditional curling rink is 146 – 150 feet in length by 14.2 – 15.7 feet wide.

It consists of several sections marked under the ice with ribbon or paint. There are four players at each end.

To score, players must get their rock as close to the button or scoring area as possible. The center of this section is called the tee. It is where most points are scored.

As long as we are speaking on curling terms, it is good to point out that there are specific terms for everything in the sport of curling.

curling stones on a curling rink

  • Rock: The large stone with a handle that slides on the ice to score points. There are eight rocks per team, meaning that each player goes twice.
  • Hack: This is where the rock is slid and accompanied by players who sweep the ice to cut on friction. The sweeping gives a seamless path to the button for a score. 
  • Sheet: The actual playing surface of the rink.
  • House: The main features of the sheet. 
  • Hog Line: Where the rock is released. 
  • Button: Located in the middle of the rink and has three circles. Their diameters are four feet, eight feet, and twelve feet, respectively.
  • Tee: The middle of the button. 

Each side of the curling sheet has the areas listed above, one for each team. Each player also wears special shoes as part of their uniform that allows them to walk on the ice. They do not wear skates when on the ice.

The markings on a traditional curling rink are made with ribbon, vinyl, or paint placed under the ice.

Natural Ice

A curling rink is made out of ice, but how is such a big sheet of ice made? In most commercial and large arenas, water is piped into the area where the ice will go. Sensors are placed under the rink to alert to temperature and melting.

The sensors allow someone to fluctuate the temperature as needed, but it also requires monitoring. You would need someone to sit and monitor the rink temperature and fix it as needed.

Keeping up natural ice can also be labor-intensive. Zambonis, temperature monitoring — and it certainly is not mobile or malleable.

It does not have to be like that; there is an alternative.

Although natural ice is authentic to the sport and ambiance of curling, you can use an alternative. One that you can get anywhere and that can be used regardless of the weather.

curling lanes on synthetic ice tiles

Synthetic Ice Is Nice

KwikRink Synthetic Ice has produced an alternative to natural ice, and that is synthetic ice. Synthetic ice is convenient not only because it can go just about anywhere the client wants but also because it is easy to install. KwikRink has designed their synthetic ice to assemble like pieces of a puzzle.

KwikRink has made its synthetic ice to come in sheets called ice tiles. Their straightforward construction makes them ideal for storage or even moving the rink itself. Snap the tiles on or off, and before you know it, you can be curling on your rink.

Unlike ice, it also does not require temperature monitoring, which makes synthetic ice easier to use. You can play or train on it without wondering if it is melting or not, and let’s face it, peace of mind is priceless.

Synthetic ice can be used year-round regardless of the weather, which means that your curling season and training does not need to end. There is no off-season, and you can better yourself on your time and your terms.

Easy assembly means easy to take down and store when not used. Natural ice needs to be melted and cleaned up after. KwikRink’s tiles snap away from each other, quickly making clean up a breeze.

It also means that the rink can be added onto or made smaller. It can meet any needs you have; whether that is curling, playing hockey, skating, synthetic ice can handle all of it.

curling stones on indoor curling rink

 

Taking Care of Your Synthetic Rink

Maintaining the synthetic ice is just as easy as putting it together, making it ideal to use. You can even clean it with a broom and mop. No special cleaners or tools needed. The only cleaning supplies you need are a mop, broom, and mild detergent.

You cannot get much easier than that. Ease means having fun while you use your ice tiles. 

Why KwikRink Synthetic Ice?

KwikRink Synthetic Ice has been producing and improving this product since the mid-1990s. That’s almost 30 years of expertise used to construct rinks around the United States. They have proven their dedication and eye for quality.

They ship nationally, but they will also work with you to construct your ideal curling rink. They also work with budgets to give you the most bang for your buck.

When you receive your ice tiles, they will include everything you need to maintain your synthetic ice—no need to buy extra accessories or unique, expensive products.

The KwikRink is versatile as well. Perfect for curling at home and well-suited to commercial use, or you can even rent one if you only need it for a little while. It is a great year-round alternative to actual ice. One made by people who care and understand ice and winter sports.

Call KwikRink Synthetic Ice today to have your very own custom curling rink — no Zamboni required.