What is synthetic ice?

Imagine owning a modern ice rink. You don’t need water, power, coolants, bulky equipment, or even a Zamboni. It is just as smooth as real ice, giving you an incredible glide. You can skate on it all day, without having to stop for resurfacing. Sound like a dream? Stop pinching yourself. The real thing is here!

Synthetic ice is a fantastic alternative to traditional ice. Though nothing can be compared to the real thing, Glice rinks come pretty darn close. The experience of gliding on a superior synthetic ice rink gives skaters the illusion that they are gliding on impeccably smooth frozen water. The latest synthetic ice products have the most advanced technology that the skating industry has seen in decades.

Synthetic ice has become so popular, you can find thousands of rinks made by Glice as indoor and outdoor rinks in 85+ countries around the world. Resorts, entertainment venues, municipalities, and the like, are enjoying the major benefits of synthetic ice over traditional ice. The technology today even allows for individuals to own artificial rinks and pads in their very own homes.
A boy playing hockey on his home rink

What is synthetic ice made of?
Synthetic ice is made from a high-density polymer (polyethene plastic) specifically engineered for ice skating. Depending on the manufacturer, different types of lubricants are sprayed on or embedded into the plastic to allow a smooth glide.

What is it like to skate on synthetic ice?

You’ll be amazed after first pushing off onto high quality synthetic ice. Though it feels slightly different than real ice, you’ll quickly adapt to the change, forgetting you are skating on ultra-slick plastic.

There is a fine line between creating a slick surface yet allowing for enough friction to allow you to stop, change course and show off your maneuvers. Manufacturers over the years have worked on designing the optimal skating surface. The quality of the glide, however, does differ between them. Glice offers the closest comparison, having spent years on scientific research and testing to develop the most superior product. While some require a topical lubricant to be regularly applied, higher-end products like Glice, are designed to release the lubricants from within the product as you skate. This process gives you an incredible glide that is undeniably the best.

Glice imbeds their lubricants deep and evenly within each sheet, providing the most ultimate glide that can be found in synthetic ice today. Blades cut into the plastic, just like they cut into ice, releasing the emollients onto the surface. This unique design of releasing lubricants as your blades cut into the surface, improves your experience the more you skate.

Benefits
Though synthetic ice looks and feels like real ice, there are multiple benefits that will save you a considerable amount of cash and time. Synthetic ice is an all-season product that allows you to skate all year long, no matter the weather! Owning a rink at your home allows you to skate whenever you want, giving you a competitive edge over others in your sport. There is no traveling to and from rental facilities and paying by the hour. There is no down time during practice while you wait for the Zamboni to recondition the ice. You won’t have to worry about special equipment, exorbitant electric bills, coolants & loud compressors or praying for cold weather. And there is no cost or wasting of water!

Though your skates will need to be sharpened a little more often, your expensive boots and blades will be kept dry, preventing rusting and eroding leather – an added plus!

What does synthetic ice look like after you skate?
Imagine a plastic cutting board with little hairline scratches left over the surface from your sharp knife. This is similar to what you’ll see on synthetic ice after use. Glice synthetic rinks are designed to allow your skates to lightly scratch open the surface, releasing additional gliding lubrication. This special benefit is unique to Glice, a process that we devised from years of research. The extremely light scratches are just deep enough to help improve the surface every time you skate. This improves your skating experience! The fine scratches on a Glice rink are a sign that our system is working. And the only difference you’ll notice in your glide is that it gets better and smoother the more you practice.

Who can skate on synthetic ice?

Eisstock, a popular game very similar to curling, can be played on Glice rinks too

Hockey/goal tending, figure skating, leisure skating and even sports like curling, are all common uses for synthetic ice. You can do everything on artificial ice that you can on real ice. The only move we discourage is toe-pick jumping while figure skating. Toe picks dig into the plastic and leave deep dings, making it challenging to repair. Otherwise, everything you can do on real ice is free game.

 

 

 

 

 

Installation & Design
Start with a flat surface and simply place your synthetic sheets in place. Set-up is simple and fast. All sheets are assembled by a connection system. Manufacturers differ in the design of connectors, which makes a remarkable difference in your glide. When you are looking to purchase a synthetic ice rink, be sure to choose a product that has a tight tongue-and-groove system like Glice offers, to prevent lifting or shifting. A simple puzzle piece will not offer you the seamless skating you’re expecting. Glice’s tongue-and-groove and Smart Lock system not only prevent unnecessary trips and falls, but its tight connection has no noticeable grooves, keeping dirt and debris from collecting in between the panels. Safety and maintenance are two important factors any skater should consider before choosing a rink.

Maintenance
While many artificial rink products differ in their maintenance, the overall requirements are essentially the same. Vacuuming regularly, mopping and conditioning occasionally, and power washing annually are the three common honey-dos on the list. That’s it! Of course, make sure you understand the exact procedures of your rink depending on the product you choose.

Rink and Pad Sizes
A few sheets are a great start for beginning goaltenders (13X9ft). If you have the yard space, you can even build your very own NHL Hockey rink, with ice markings and dasher boards! The Glice rink in Zócalo, Mexico City is the largest synthetic ice rink in the world, spanning a whopping 43,000 square feet! The size and shape of your rink is entirely up to you!

How is it manufactured?
Synthetic ice manufacturers use one of two processes to turn plastic polymer into skating material. Extrusion is one process that takes melted plastic, pushes it through a nozzle and left to cool. The extrusion process isn’t easily controlled, creating inconsistencies in the finished surface.

Sintering, the far superior process used by Glice, crushes plastic pellets under high pressure and controlled heat. This assures our lubricants are evenly mixed throughout and creates a perfectly plumb surface.

Why is the sintering process better?
Though sintering is a more expensive technique, it is by far the preferred choice due to the strength of the final product and the ultra-smooth surface achieved by controlled heat and even pressure. Only a couple of artificial ice manufacturers in the world use this practice. Additional benefits of sintering allow for lubricant pellets to be added into the polymer and mixed evenly throughout. This allows for a more superior glide. The extrusion process does not allow for the uniform disbursement of lubricants, leaving surfaces patchy and less cohesive throughout your skating glide. For this reason, Glice’s superior quality synthetic rinks are the chosen rinks for several Hockey Elite Training Centers (including CCM’s own test facility), and the world’s largest synthetic rink at Zócalo, Mexico City. Our manufacturing facility is the only producer of synthetic rinks that have a highly controlled environment, providing the perfect temperature, humidity and clean space needed to make the world’s best synthetic ice.

How durable is synthetic ice?
There is a wide range of synthetic ice qualities. That is why it is important to do your homework and fully understand what quality you are purchasing. Ask what can be done on the rink, where it can be installed, and how long your synthetic rink will last. When it comes to synthetic ice rinks, you absolutely get what you pay for. Skimping on quality can result in your having to purchase multiple rinks over time.

The level of quality ultimately depends on a few factors. Does the plastic through a sintering or extrusion process? How a connection system is designed and thickness of the sheet determines how flat a rink lies and if the edges or corners will lift or buckle. With Glice, not only is our connection system the best in the industry, but our commercial synthetic sheets are so durable, you can park your car on top of it!

When choosing a Glice rink, you are likely choosing the only brand you’ll ever need. Call us today for more information. A Glice rink can be yours in just a few days!