Making is really a lot of fun. The problem is that it disguises itself as a lot of work!
First, let's talk about goals. I dream of being able to make ice so smooth the Red Wings would want to play on it. Unfortunately, it's just not going to happen. I live in a suburban community where we pump our own water. One of the problems impeding my "perfect ice" is the quality of the water I'm using. We consistently go through a bag of salt in our water softener each month. We obviously have a high iron content. This makes the ice that I do make somewhat harder than what they have at "The Joe."
A reasonable goal, therefore, is simply to make ice that my kids will have fun on throughout the winter. They'll use it for more than just ice skating and hockey. They have fun on it even when it's not perfect. There's, apparently, nothing more fun than sliding across a clean sheet of ice on your belly, or swinging your friend around on a card table chair, or any one of a hundred more games they make up during the season.
Here are my keys to acceptable ice:
- Start with a good base - you should be all set with this, at this point.
- Keep the ice shoveled. You never know when it's going to thaw for a day or two, and snow on your ice will really foul it up when this happens.
- Keep the ice clear of debris - Leaves (my number one nemesis,) toys, shovels and anything else that isn't completely white in color will attract the heat of the sun and make holes or soft spots in your ice.
- When applying water, do so only when it's really cold.
- When applying water, put on as thin a layer as possible.
- Use a home made Zamboni - it puts the water on super thin!