Synthetic Ice

Is Synthetic Ice Safe to Skate On?

Over the last year and a half or so, there has been a huge interest in synthetic ice. As it turns out, you can install the panels just about anywhere and have your own ice skating rink. Hockey players love this, and so do other ice skaters. Although there have been questions regarding the safety of synthetic ice and that it could be harmful to skaters that use it. Is it safe? You might be surprised at that answer…

What Exactly IS Synthetic Ice?

We all know that traditional ice is merely water that has been frozen into a solid form. Synthetic ice, on the other hand, is not so simple. It is made out of a complex type of plastic that is developed out of synthetic polymer material. This is known as polymer plastic.

In the early days of artificial ice, there were a considerable amount of problems in the way that the flooring had to be used. When skaters ice skated across the flooring, the only way that they could successfully glide across is if there was a constant flow of lubricant added to it as they skated. There was much to learn about plastics at that time in history.

Self-Lubricating Ice Panels

As time moved forward and researchers began to gain powerful insight and knowledge about the way that plastics could be formed, a new way of development came into the picture. Polymers are actually naturally occurring strings of molecules that make up a large amount of the matter that we see every day. In fact, our DNA is a great example of a chain polymer. 

As the knowledge of polymers became more clear, developers found that they could create a type of plastic out of man-made polymers that could include built-in lubricating agents that would allow for lubricants to be pulled from the plastic flooring to the surface as the skaters skated across it. Much like ice. 

Ice Skating on Ice

When skaters skate across the ice the blades of the skates dig into the ice and create enough heat from the friction to melt some of the ice. As the ice melts, it leaves a thin layer of water that acts as a lubricant for the skates to slide easily across and glide around the rink. We mentioned above that the synthetic ice of today is equipped with a self-lubricating ingredient that makes skating on the surface much like skating on real ice.

Harmful Vapors from Synthetic Ice? No

There is a theory going around that the blades from the ice skates cause harmful vapors to escape from the synthetic ice panels and go into the air as people skate over them. This is absolutely not true. Although synthetic ice is made out of special polymer plastic, there is no vapers that come from it when it is skated on. The only way there might be a possibility of harmful toxins that come from the panels if they were to be lit on fire.

In fact, the amount of energy that it takes to keep traditional ice frozen through the hot summer months is enough to cause much more ecological damage than synthetic ice could.

Conclusion

Synthetic ice is about as safe to skate on as traditional ice. If you can ice skate like a champion over real ice on a rink, then by all means you are just as safe on ice panels as you would be on a true ice rink. So if you want to figure skate or practice shots with a hockey shooting tarp, go ahead and do it on some ice panels. Enjoy yourself.

***Sniper’s Edge Hockey loves Canada! We proudly ship all of our products to Canada and offer the same return policies as we do for everybody else. We realize the exchange rates for the Canadian dollar are not the best right now, so we’re trying to help by giving you free shipping and no customs/duty.***

synthetic ice

The Difference Between Synthetic Ice And Dryland Flooring

Many ice skaters and hockey players alike are looking towards synthetic ice as a solution to their need to ice skate. With the world on lockdown behind the pandemic, it is great to know that there is an option available for people to ice skate and continue to practice ice hockey in their own homes. As amazing as synthetic ice is, it is best to know a few facts about it and what it is.

There is another type of hockey flooring that is popular today known as dryland hockey flooring. People tend to confuse the two, so we have created an article that will explain the differences, and which one is better.

What is Synthetic Ice?

Synthetic ice was first developed in the 1960s so that people could enjoy ice skating during the summer months and without having to keep a whole arena refrigerated in order to do so. At first, it was a bit of a problem for most of the skaters because the flooring had to be continually lubricated in order for people to skate across it. Back then, the types of plastics that were available were not near the quality of the plastics that are around today. Synthetic iced is made from a special, durable polymer that allows for a self-sustained lubricant to be administered as skaters skate across the surface. Artificial ice flooring is almost as good as real ice flooring today. Science and technology have come a long way since the ‘60s.

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What is Dryland Hockey Flooring?

Dryland hockey flooring is made out of a special polymer as well, but it has different properties than synthetic ice flooring. Dryland flooring, also known as slick tiles, is engineered so that hockey pucks can glide across them in the same manner as they would glide across the ice. They are not made, however, for ice skates. Dryland hockey tiles are great for practicing with a shooting tarp or practicing passes on a hockey rebounder, but you can not ice skate on them. The largest difference between the two types of flooring is the way that they can be used.

Dryland Tiles vs. Synthetic Ice Tiles

Besides the biggest issue between the two types of flooring, you can’t ice skate on dryland flooring, there are a few other differences as well. Synthetic ice is typically more expensive than dryland tiles. Although both are great hockey flooring solutions, it takes a bit more engineering to produce a type of flooring that can continually withstand ice skates and be able to produce its own lubricant. However, if you would prefer to rollerblade while you play or practice hockey, you will be better off with dryland tiles because you can’t rollerblade on synthetic ice. Imagine how it would be to try and rollerblade on a real ice rink. Pretty tough, huh? Of course, there are people that are highly skilled and could easily maneuver a pair of rollerblades over a slick rink of ice, but not everybody has that type of skill. Tennis shoes and roller blades are great for slick tiles. Ice skates are exclusively for ice or synthetic ice.

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Which Flooring is Better?

The type of flooring that would be best for an individual would depend on the needs of the person. Obviously, if you want to ice skate, you would need to use synthetic ice. If you tried to use ice skates on the dryland flooring it could end up like trying to ice skate on your kitchen floor. If you prefer to rollerblade then dryland tiles would definitely be the best choice. Either way, the important thing is that you continue to practice and to stay in good shape. Don’t let this pandemic keep you from having fun.