Ok, rink went up around Turkey Day. Filled on December 29. Skating on 1/1.
This is my first year doing this. Here's what I've learned/pro-tips:
- Those flooring scraper things (at Home Depot - used for lifting up linoleum) are fantastic!
- Shoveling powdery snow is much better than shoveling wet snow
- Skating does a great job of helping uneven ice
- Reflooding cures a lot of ills. After a bad rain/freeze, I used the scraper and then just did a nice flood (1/4 - 1/2").
- Do NOT point your hose on direct flow into the ice (I burned a hole in). Use a spraying motion and work the rink.
- Hot/warm water is heaven! I had a plumber buddy come out and put a hot water feed to my outdoor spigot and replace the faucet. Instead of a standard cold outlet, I know have hot and cold that can be mixed like a normal faucet (will also be great for summer activities for the kids). I can flood with it, rink rake or zamboni.
- Red duct tape on the top edge of the boards is great for making sure kids can see the edges and not break their ankles!
- Your slope is always more sloped than you thought. 5" in one corner. 19" in another corner. 'Nuff said!
- Skaboots are incredible! Google them. $25 and allow you to put your skates on INSIDE the house and not damage the deck/flooring/edges/etc. Much better than tying skates in 10 degree weather.
- GET THIS HOSE! . We've all been lured into those cheap flex hoses that don't work. This one does and it's the real deal! I ran it for 17 hours straight to flood the rink. No issues. Have used it a ton since (including sub zero weather). It's awesome!!
- Quick release connections for your hose/rink rake are you friend!
- Establish rules. No checking, no rough play, no helmet/no skates/no ice time! I added a couple other - if a player falls, it's an automatic stoppage of play. Rink too small and kids can get hurt. Also, if you skate, you shovel!!! Oh, and pond hockey goals are great - helps keep shots down. If you are on the rink without a cup, your testicles will thank you!
- If you use a bluetooth or outdoor speaker for music, the first songs you MUST play are 'The Good Old Hockey Game', 'I Wanna Drive the Zamboni' by The Gear Daddies and 'Fifty Mission Cap' by The Tragically Hip.
(edited post to fix link - kevmac)