For any seasoned ice skater or hockey player, having a clean, empty sheet of ice to skate on is a rare and amazing thing. No matter how early you get to the local rink, or how long you spend there, the ice surface is sure to be bustling with coaches and players all eager for a slice of the space. To practice your slap-shot in solitude you’ll need to have access to your very own rink.

Imagine, waking up on a crisp winter morning, stumbling out your backdoor, lacing up your skates and cruising on to your very own backyard ice rink. While the idea of building and maintaining a backyard ice rink seems daunting, the dream is more easily achieved than you may think! With the right tools, supplies, yard space and, of course, weather, almost anyone can have their own space to skate in no time.

President and co-founder of Backroad Mapbooks, Russell Mussio, knows a thing or two about building your own rink. Having grown up in Trail, BC and raising a family out in the Okanagan, he has mastered the art of winter sports. Here are his tips to get you started on building your own backyard ice rink!


  1. Level, level, level

Outside of cold and water, having a level area is easily the most important thing. Be sure to take the extra time to level the entire surface or you will be fighting with the low or high spots all season. A laser level is invaluable here.

  1. Use a kit with boards

There are many ice rink building kits available on the market. Depending on the size of area, it is recommended to use one that allows you to build some sort of boards around the rink. This will allow you to add more ice over the season (or to help level) and also keeps the puck on the playing surface.

  1. Freeze it all

If using a kit or tarp, the first freeze can make or break the ice building process. If it is cold enough, be sure to get at least an inch of water on all areas and allow it to freeze. The more water you can add for the first freeze the better – just remember that it takes exponentially longer to freeze deeper water.

  1. Temperature matters

Depending on where you live, outside temperature can vary dramatically. The ideal ice building temperature is between -8° C and -10° C. If it is warmer than that, you will need to apply water in thin layers. Colder than that and the water freezes too quickly and makes ridges.

  1. Patience in a virtue

Once your first layer of ice is ready, apply water in thin layers to help level and build up low areas. A hand-held flooder that hooks up to your garden hose helps distribute the water evenly.

  1. Keep it clean

Once the ice is formed, be sure to remove all leaves, pucks and nets when not in use. The sun will heat up darker items and they will quickly create holes or indentations in the ice.

  1. Lighting is everything

Yes, even with outdoor rinks, lighting makes a difference. Ambience can be achieved by stringing white Christmas lights around the area. But for those night time hockey games a good flood light or two really heats up the action.

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Remember to practice safety along with practicing your skating skills. Be sure to equip any small children or inexperienced skaters with a helmet and proper padding, and always check the ice surface for debris, thickness and quality before heading out for a skate. Children should be supervised at all times while on the rink and should know the basics of skating and proper falling before being free to skate without a support.

We would love to see the shots of your backyard ice rinks! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and upload a photo of your DIY Backyard Rink using the #brmblife.