January thaw spoils Montreal skating rinks

The warm and rainy weather is forcing Montreal's winter sport enthusiasts to hang up their skis and skates, at least for now.

After several days of wet weather, many of the city's outdoor rinks are out of service

Ella and Adam Groszman were forced to hang up their skates after several days worth of rain coated their backyard skating rink in the Mile End. (Submitted by Tommy Groszman)

The warm and rainy weather is forcing Montreal's winter sport enthusiasts to hang up their skates, at least for now.

The majority of Montreal's boroughs are reporting mostly poor conditions on their public outdoor rinks, according to the city's website

However, skating conditions are mostly good in a few boroughs, including Lachine, Montreal North, Lachine, Pierrefonds - Roxboro and Rivière-des-Prairies-Pointe-aux-Trembles.

Justin Lachapelle has a backyard rink in Saint-Lazare. He says so far his rink has survived the thaw, but as long as the weather stays warm and rainy, the ice is too wet to skate on.

"If I get three days of plus temperature that could kill me," he told CBC Daybreak host Mike Finnerty.

Mile End resident Tommy Groszman says his rink has made it through the temperature increase, but it's still too wet to use. 

Groszman says when they first heard the warm weather forecast, his family was worried they might have to rebuild the rink from scratch.

"When we first saw the weather report, it was major depression here," he said. 

An end to outdoor skating rinks?

Robert McLeman is the co-founder of Rink Watch, a website that tracks the condition of skating rink conditions across North America.​ 

He said about two dozen outdoor rinks in the Montreal area are reporting poor skating conditions.

"If you want to go skating you need to head west or north, there's nothing else in eastern North America that's skateable at the moment," he said. 

McLeman said he's concerned about the future of skating in Canada.  

He cited a study published in 2012 by scientists at McGill University and Concordia University, which studied the connection between global warming and Canada's shortening skating rink season. 

The study used current trends to predict an "end to outdoor skating rinks" in southern Canada.

"The number of viable rink-flooding days could reach zero by mid-century [in southern Canada]," the report stated.