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Rideau Canal (2012)

An ice rink is an area that is frozen . The icing can be natural ( natural ice rink ) or artificial ( artificial ice rink ).

Natural ice

The Davos natural ice rink, the open artificial ice rink (left with sun protection) and the ice stadium
Neusiedlersee (2009)
Run of the alternatives Elfstedentocht am Weissensee (2008)

The first natural ice rinks were frozen lakes . However, suitable areas for ice rinks were soon prepared. The existing snow cover must first be rolled as compact and even as possible. Then the surface is iced up with enough water at suitably low temperatures .

The largest natural ice rinks

The largest prepared natural ice rink in Europe is located in Davos . A 400-meter track for speed skating as well as ice hockey and curling fields are available on a contiguous area on 18,000 m² in the center of the village .

Most of the years Lake Neusiedl in Burgenland is frozen over, between mid-December and February, depending on weather conditions. It has an open water area of ​​157 km² and is 285 km² in size, including the belt of reeds crossed by canals. In the winter season it becomes the largest ice rink in Central Europe, where ice sailing, ice surfing and ice kite surfing are also practiced. It is not advertised extensively because, in the opinion of tourism experts, the times are too difficult to plan.

The largest ice surface in the Alps is the Weißensee in Carinthia with 6.5 km² , which can be skied annually between December and March on about 80 and at least 19 (2001) days. In January 2012 there are three 18.2 km long round ice rinks which are prepared to a width of 15 m at the beginning of the season and after the alternative eleven cities tour at the end of January are still about 6 m wide, which together from the beginning of 273,000 m² to January 109,200 m² of circular track area. There are also ice hockey rinks, ice stock rinks and hiking trails.

The 8.77 km² Lac de Joux and the smaller Lac Ter are located in the Vallée de Joux in the Swiss canton of Vaud in the Jura Mountains . In many years they are frozen over in winter and can be driven on in January and February. The Lac Brenet , which is right next door , does not freeze over, however.

The Rideau Canal in Ottawa is navigable for a length of 7.8 km from the parliament building in winter and has an area of ​​around 90 ice hockey rinks (that is 164,700 m²). From 1971 to 2008 it was in the Guinness Book as the longest ice rink in the world and still holds the record for the largest total area.

Competing with this is the Assiniboine (Credit Union) River Trail on the Assiniboine River and the Red River of the North in The Forks (Winnipeg) , which was recognized by the Guinness Book as the world's longest ice skating rink in 2008. The exact length changes depending on the river and ice conditions from year to year and is usually 8.5 km with an area of ​​around 65 ice hockey rinks (that is 118,950 m²), in 2008 the record length of 9.3 km was achieved.

In 2006, in British Columbia , Canada, on Lake Windermere near the town of Invermere, the Toby Creek Nordic Ski Club created (The) Whiteway / Lake Windermere Whiteway a cross-country ski trail. By 2011 at the latest, a parallel track was also swept as an ice rink, so that conventional cross-country skiing with parallel skis, skating cross-country skiing and ice skating on ice skates and cycling are possible side by side. The snow and ice rink with 3 types runs as an endless loop but with three 8-way crossings over the lake, so that 4 loops with a length of 5-12 km each arise. In 2014, with a length of almost 30 km, the world's longest well-maintained ice rink was achieved and mentioned in the Guinness Book. The mentioned ski club asks for 5 dollar daily admission at 2 access points. The year before, the ice rink was around 20 km long.

In the right weather conditions, the largest natural ice rinks are created by sea ​​frost . B. in the sea ​​frosts of Lake Constance .

Artificial ice

Ice rink in the Berlin Sports Palace, 1920
Artificial ice rink Küsnacht ZH

With the invention of the refrigeration machine , it became possible to generate cold artificially. With it you could set up ice rinks in halls and practice ice sports outside of the cold season. An artificial ice rink usually has 2 to 5 cm of ice.

In 1882 one of the first artificial ice rinks in the world was opened in Frankfurt as part of the German patent and utility model exhibition . It had an area of ​​520 m² and was in operation for almost 3 months. Linde AG played a key role in the system when refrigerant was used Uses ammonia . Ten years later a permanent system was installed in the Frankfurt Palm Garden.

In the 1960s, attempts were made to replace artificial ice made from water with synthetic products in order to get by without the infrastructure of a cooling machine . Newly available plastics now make it possible to skate with conventional ice skates like on real ice. In warm regions and North America in particular, synthetic ice surfaces are increasingly being added to the range of artificial ice rinks.

EPDM absorber

EPDM absorbers have also been used in the manufacture of artificial ice rinks since the 1980s . This technology is very energy efficient, inexpensive to purchase and operate. This is why this system is increasingly being used for large projects such as ice rinks, speed skating rings, etc. Furthermore, the flexible absorbers (ice mats) enable the production of mobile artificial ice rinks.

But not only completely mobile systems, but also partially mobile solutions and permanent ice rinks are in most cases made using EPDM ice mats. The EPDM ice mats are characterized by their large transfer area, their resistance and their flexibility. Due to their high temperature resistance and their diverse design options, they are used very often in practice. The ice mats are rolled out next to each other, connected to a circuit and then filled with a water / glycol mixture. A refrigeration machine cools the mixture to approx. -10 ° C and pumps it through the ice mat surface, while the sprayed water freezes and then turns into an even surface of ice.

For mobile ice rinks there has been a pre-assembled system made of aluminum tubes in addition to the EPDM system since winter 2003/2004. The aluminum tubes are combined in flexibly interconnected modules and can therefore be designed for any size. Due to the improved cold release of the aluminum compared to EPDM mats, the aluminum system uses less energy for making and preserving ice (coefficient of thermal conductivity). In addition, the higher cold release enables faster ice formation, so that aluminum technology is often used in the field of mobile ice rinks.

In practice, however, in most cases the EPDM ice mats are trusted, as they can be used universally thanks to their large transfer surface, temperature and resistance. The various design options for the ice rinks are thus implemented as energy-efficiently and cost-efficiently as possible.

Mobile artificial ice rinks

Olympic-size mobile artificial ice rink in a football stadium
Construction of a mobile artificial ice rink

An ice rink is an area bounded by a band, the floor of which consists of a thick layer of ice. In general, these are closed systems. These were prepared accordingly to keep the ground permanently frozen. Since some specialist companies have succeeded in optimizing their refrigeration technology so that the ice surface is also kept outdoors under ideal conditions, these ice rinks are now increasingly being relocated to the streets. It is thanks to these mobile ice rinks in shopping centers and urban squares that ice sports are enjoying greater public attention and an ever-growing fan base. Where it is very cold there are also natural ice rinks (frozen lakes and rivers).

Pilot test artificial ice rink on grass

In order to be able to operate an ice rink on the sunbathing lawn in winter, a test field with cooling coils was installed under the sward in the Eglisee swimming pool in Basel in 2011 . Although the cooling functioned in principle, the pilot test was canceled due to the significantly higher water requirement of the lawn in summer and the planned system was not installed.

Building an ice rink

An ice rink is an area bounded by a circumferential band on which a layer of ice is created artificially, i.e. with the help of a refrigeration machine, and kept frozen.

To set up an ice rink, you first need a level, stable and leveled surface. A so-called cold ceiling made of networked pipes that form a closed circuit is installed on the floor. This cold blanket is connected to main collectors, which are located on one or both sides of the track. The main collectors, for their part, are connected to a water pump, a tank (the so-called lung or buffer tank) and finally to the refrigeration machine. Together, these elements form a closed circle that forms the basis of the future ice rink.

Now the circle is filled with a mixture of antifreeze (monoethylene glycol or polypropylene glycol) and water. The refrigeration machine can now be switched on. The pump ensures that the liquid circulates continuously through the pipe network of the ice rink, and thanks to the buffer tank, the excess air that would otherwise remain trapped in the circuit is expelled. The chiller gradually lowers the temperature of the liquid to −8 to −10 ° C. Then the first layer of water is sprayed over the pipes of the cold ceiling with a water hose. The water crystallizes immediately. This process is repeated several times and this gradually creates the ice layer. The ideal thickness of an ice rink is about 6 to 8 cm.

Movement on the ice

In order to move safely on an ice rink, you need appropriate means of transport. These are either directly connected to the feet in the form of ice skates (see figure skating , ice hockey , speed skating ) or they are separate sports equipment with runners or other equally usable edges (see bobsleigh , tobogganing , skeleton , ice sailing , ice surfing ).

Gliding on the ice is achieved by collecting the weight as concentrated as possible on a small area, whereby the ice melts at the contact point and thus considerably reduces the sliding friction as a lubricant .


See also

Web links

Commons : Ice Rinks  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Neusiedler See: Ice skating is possible again , December 17, 2010
  2. Neusiedler See is once again a giant ice rink , bgl.orf.at, January 12, 2006.
  3. a b www.natureislauf.at , accessed on February 9, 2012: 7.5 km circular track on the east bank & 6 km circular track west of the bridge & 4.7 km circular track in the western part & connection between them & ice hockey rinks, ice stock rinks and hiking trails. The ice statistics are under download
  4. Andreas Wenderoth: World's largest natural ice rink. As long as it crashes, it will last, Die Zeit No. 48, November 25, 2010; Zeit Online, December 6, 2010
  5. ↑ Natural ice rink, Lac de Joux and Lac de Ter ( Memento of November 7, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), Region du Leman - Lake Geneva area
  6. a b c Petti Fong: Invermere, BC, aims to have world's biggest skating rink, according to Guinness records book , thestar.com, December 30, 2011
  7. The Whiteway tobycreeknordic.com, accessed October 29, 2019.
  8. Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce: World's Longest Ice Skating Trail - The Whiteway - Take Me There youtube.com, October 30, 2014, accessed October 29, 2019.
  9. ^ Linde AG: "75 Years Linde", 1954, p. 52
  10. ^ Peter Knechtli: Eglisee: Patented ice rink invention in the state enterprise. In: onlinereports.ch. July 6, 2011, accessed February 3, 2018 .
  11. Artificial ice rink under natural grass: Basel's pioneering facility works. In: Basellandschaftliche Zeitung . April 7, 2012, accessed February 3, 2018 .
  12. ^ Peter Knechtli: The failed ice rink revolution on the Egliseebad sunbathing area. In: onlinereports.ch. February 15, 2017, accessed February 3, 2018 .