Community Stories

Ice, Ice Maybe?

November 03, 2022

Red Deerians love our outdoor rinks, but do we know what it takes to build and maintain them?

Red Deer is home to 77 outdoor skating surfaces including boarded rinks, snowbank rinks and three pond skating locations, and a speed skating oval. The Parks and Public Works department is responsible for the creation and maintenance of these areas. They begin in early fall when temperatures begin to drop. This early start provides enough time to get the boards in place so they can get to work making ice as soon as the thermometer allows.

A few days of below zero temperatures are not enough for the rinks to be ready, it also takes some snowfall to ensure the boards and snowbanks are secured in place and safe for skaters. When all the ingredients are in place, crews can begin the flooding process. It takes approximately 20 floods per ice surface with time to freeze between floods and this takes 21 to 28 days of consistent freezing temperatures to build up enough ice to safely turn on the lights and put out the nets. This is the sign for skaters the rinks are ready to enjoy, and crews shift their focus to maintenance of the ice surfaces. 

Typically, The City attempts to have the rinks opened in time for the holidays, but there have been years when they’ve opened earlier in December or even into the new year. It’s all in Mother Nature’s hands.