One of Sudbury's most popular winter wonderlands is almost ready.
A construction firm has been flooding the Ramsey Lake skate path all week.
For more than a decade, Alfred Thibeault has drilled holes, hooked hoses up to pumps and sprayed water to flood the skate path — and often in frigid conditions.
Thibeault works for Candu construction, the company that prepares and maintains the ice each year.
"We are on schedule, actually, compared to other years," Thibeault said. "It never usually opens until Jan. 20, so we are pretty close to being there."
Skaters smooth out 'imperfections'
The ice under the 1.5 kilometre path is now more than a foot thick. Thibeault and the rest of the crew members are trying to make it smooth enough for the first intrepid skaters.
"There will be a little bit of imperfections but skaters actually fix that," he said. "It's like a thousand little Zambonies shaving off the imperfections."
Thibeault said the path could be ready within days — but any snow or warmer temperatures could set that back. The plan is to flood the path daily for the rest of the week.
He added that once the popular path is ready for skaters, he hopes that's all people will use it for.
"When you see snowmobiles destroying it … that is not a proud moment," he said. "Every year there's a couple of yahoos who come out and race up and down at night. And when you come back the next day, there is big gouges from the cleats from the tracks."
The city said it will make an official announcement when the Ramsey skate path is ready for skaters.