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Ice Skater on Safe Ice Skating Rink Pond

How To Turn Your Pond Into An Ice Skating Rink

How To Turn Your Pond Into An Ice Skating Rink

One of the pleasures of having a pond on your property is the ability to create a winter wonderland. 

Whether you’re a figure skater or a hockey player, bunny hop extraordinaire or puck master, it's quite the gift to stroll out to your own ice rink, gear up and play. Before we go any further - there's nothing more important than ensuring the safety of yourself and guests. Here is your guide to creating the perfect ice skating pond.

A good rule of thumb, if you’re going skating or ice fishing with a group, is to stay off ice that’s less than four inches thick. 

Experts compare it to checking the oil in your car. Use a drill, ice chisel, or ice auger to make a hole then hook the end of a tape measure on the edge and take the measurement. Bring an ice auger to test the ice as you walk and move.

What is safe ice?

Here are some ways to determine if the ice is safe.
  • Look for areas of pooling water. If found, put your plans on hold. 
  • Avoid areas near inlets/outlets because moving water affects the integrity of the ice.

  • Blue to clear ice is very strong, highly dense, and very safe when thick enough. Avoid areas that appear light gray to black, white to opaque, slushy or molted. Stay clear of cracks or breaks, abnormal surfaces, and ice that appears to have thawed and refrozen.

  • Thick and strong ice - up to 12-15 inches is optimal for skating and playing hockey


    Recommended Ice Thickness Chart

              *For more information on safety visit  Ice safety | Wisconsin DNR


              Keep in mind there's absolutely no guarantee that the ice is safe. It's not a bad idea to keep first aid essentials nearby as accidents can happen. Just remember this - thick and blue, tried and true, thin and crispy, way too risky.

               Safety on Ice Infographic

               *source: weather.gov/safety/winter

              How to create the perfect smooth surface for ice skating

              The pond is now ready to be prepped for skating. Check the forecast to be sure the next five nights are below freezing and gather your supplies. You will need a flat head shovel, hatchet, and a bucket.

              Determine the area

              • Location, Location, Location: The size recommendation is 20 feet + 10 feet for each player - so if there are 4 of you, a 60’x 30’ rink would be perfect.

              • Remove any debris from the surface and around edges.

              • Shovel the surface using a flat nose shovel; shoveling snow from side to side in the middle and then from middle to the edges.
              • Pile snow to create hockey goals and backstops at both ends of the rink. Disperse snow evenly around where you want to play to act as boards. It will keep you from having to chase the puck down the ice.

              Water the surface

              • Use your hatchet to break through the ice and create an opening large enough for a bucket. For safety purposes, use snow to form a ring around the hole.

              • Fill your bucket with ice cold water and pour it onto the exposed surface.
              • Repeat the process until the area is evenly covered in water. 

              Now it's time to be patient and let the water freeze overnight. Check your ice skating pond the next day and repeat if needed.


              How to maintain your pond ice rink

              freezing weather icon
              • Use a broom to sweep the surface and remove excess snow with a shovel.
              • Use warm water to evenly flood the area. This melts the surface, correcting any imperfections and allows it to freeze smoothly.


                It's finally time to layer up, and bust out those skates. Remember to consider temperatures outside. Use your rink when it's cold enough to keep the surface intact. All that's left to do now is, grab a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy your beautiful backyard winter oasis.

                If you are looking for pond supplies, we carry the best Pond Aeration Systems for small or large lakes and ponds. 

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