You’ve been invited to go ice skating and find yourself asking what seems like a silly question; “are ice skating rinks cold?” Remember there are no stupid questions and in fact you might be surprised to learn the answer to this query.
As you can imagine, ice skating rinks can be quite cold, especially in the winter. This is because the ice is made of very cold water that is frozen using a system similar to your home freezer. That being said, many times in the winter, I find that my local indoor ice skating rink is much warmer than the outside temperature.
In this post we will look at the different temperatures of ice rinks and how to dress to stay warm. Just because the ice is frozen, you don’t have to be.
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Are Ice Skating Rinks Cold?
Ice skating rinks can be quite cold, depending on the time of year. Outdoor rinks, of course, are as cold as the weather outside.
Most people think that ice skating rinks are cold, but this is not always the case. In fact, there are some ice skating rinks that are much warmer than others. Also bear in mind that ice skating is great exercise and if you are really skating fast, you may even end up sweaty and hot on the ice rink.
How cold is an ice skating rink?
While the ice is always around the freezing mark, most indoor rinks are around 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit/ 4-10 degrees Celsius.
What factors affect the temperature of ice skating rinks?
The temperature of ice skating rinks is affected by a number of factors, the most important of which are the weather and the type of rink.
Factors that can affect the temperature of an ice rink include:
- The type of cooling system
- Ceiling height at the rink
- Age of the building.
There are also different rink temperatures depending on the kind of skating that the rink is used for.
Hockey Ice v Figure Skating Ice
While most recreational rinks allow all types of skating, there are actually optimal ice temperatures for figure skating and hockey.
In general, rink temperatures below 22 degrees Fahrenheit (-5 degrees Celsius) are considered ideal for figure skating. This is slightly warmer than the hockey ice which is usually around -9 degrees Celsius/ 16F.
Why does hockey need colder ice?
The cooler ice temperature means the ice is much harder for hockey so it will stand up better to the “abuse” it will take from the hockey players crashing and barrelling down the ice.
Figure skating ice is much softer than hockey ice making landings from jumps easier and faster skater possible.
How Are Ice Rinks Made?
Ice rinks are made by flooding a concrete surface with water and then freezing the water. The concrete surface must be smooth in order to create a level skating surface.
In order to keep the rink smooth enough for skating, the ice is constantly resurfaced using a Zamboni machine.
There are lots of metal pipes under the concrete surface and a substance called glycol runs through this pipes and freezes the water above. This is how the refrigeration process works for an ice rink.
To make an outdoor ice rink without underground refrigeration, the same flat surface is needed and the rink is flooded with water but then Mother Nature helps out by freezing the water and turning it into ice.
How To Stay Warm While Skating
When you’re out skating whether on an indoor or an outdoor rink, the last thing you want to worry about is being cold.
Here are a few tips to help you stay warm while skating indoors
1. Wear layers. This will help keep your body warm by trapping heat close to your skin.
2. Choose materials that wick moisture away from your skin. This will help keep you dry and comfortable.
3. Avoid cotton clothing, which traps moisture and can make you cold.
4. Wear a hat and gloves to keep your head and hands warm.
5. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and avoid getting too cold.
Read more tips and ideas here: What To Wear Ice Skating Indoors (Top 11 Must-Haves)