This is my fourth season, and I have moved up to an 84' x 44' rink. We had an early patch of really cold weather that, in seasons past on our 64' x 32' rink, would have had us skating already. However with the new rink, I was only able to get on the ice by myself during the last night of cold, and it was still cracking and popping some in the middle. Below you can see our weather, when my flood completed, and when I got on the ice right before the thaw.
So I'm trying to figure out why this freeze took significantly longer. Three things I've come up with thus far:
1) This rink is deeper (17" at it's worst point), and much more of the total rink area is "deep" than on the former.
2) We got hit with snow, water seeped over the side, and all along the edges it trashed the ice and froze the slush. The middle was able to withstand the snow (ice was good underneath), but I'm guessing it also prevented it from freezing as quickly? That's where all the popping was happening during my one skate, on the "good" ice.
3) This was the earliest we ever dropped the liner here in NW Indiana; is it possible the rink water had to absorb all of the "warmth" out of the ground, thus delaying the freeze?
For you veterans, which of these (or maybe all?) is the primary culprit?
How detrimental is snow on top to adding depth to your ice block when freezing up for the first time?
Is clear ice or frozen slush ice stronger? Does one gain depth faster than the other?
If I had installed my rink 20 feet to the left (my elevation calculations failed me), I think I could take at least 4" of water off the total depth, maybe more. We have a thaw coming, and I'm seriously considering draining, moving the necessary boards to re-position the rink, and re-flooding. If the increased water depth is my primary culprit, I think it makes sense to try to mitigate it. I'm worried about how long it's going to take to get ice back if we have the mid-winter thaws of my first two seasons. I've got at least 30,000 gallons in there at the moment; would you veterans drain and move the rink to lower the total water depth, given we're still early in the season? Am I nuts for considering this? I'm just really, really paranoid about not being able to have the family skate after 8+ days of highs at or below freezing....
Thanks for listening, I know this rambled on for a bit. I had to come vent here because the wife is tired of hearing it!