Despite a few weather challenges more than 2,800 people used the Keremeos outdoor ice rink this season.
Because of a heavy snow fall days before the rink was set to open in early December, the ice basically had to be put in twice, Karl Donoghue, facility manager said.
“We got that heavy snowfall. The guys were actually out there using pick axes to try and get the melted snow, ice out of the corners. Then the weather went warm,” he said.
On a normal year, Donoghue along with about four other part time seasonal workers start the ardious task of putting in the ice about November 20.
The routine starts with making sure the surface is clean of all debris including leaves and garbage. Then staff starts to hand mist the water onto the rink’s surface.
“The trick is to make sure the ice adheres to the concrete. That’s the key. Once you’ve got that then you just need to build it up,” he said.
As water is misted onto it and the surface is being built up the hockey lines are added. Then more layers are added. The ice ends up being about three-quarters of an inch thick.
“It’s quite the process,” he said.
Because the ice started to melt this season the hockey lines started to drift and that’s why it basically had to be taken back out.
But because of the dedicated efforts of staff, the rink was ready on time for Light Up weekend December 5.
Staff also made sure the rink did not have to be closed for an extended period of time when a large dump of snow occurred in early January.
“Everything effects the ice. If there’s too much cold, too much heat, too much wind, too much sun,” he said. “We have to be really on top of it.”
Donoghue said he’s impressed and appreciative of how the community comes together to offer skating opportunities.
Several businesses sponsored free skates throughout the season which ended Friday, January 30.
“It’s great to see that. You’ll have 40 or more kids out here,” he said.
The rink also offers a variety after-school, skating lessons, and hockey pickups.
Next year the rink will close on Sunday opposed to a Friday to allow for more skaters to enjoy.