How to build an outdoor curling rink that will impress your neighbours
Club puts finishing touches on 40-metre outdoor curling rink near New Germany, N.S.
There are rinks. And then there are rinks.
But few can hold a hose to this outdoor display of ice-making excellence near New Germany, N.S.
The 40-metre outdoor curling rink is complete with a roof, bleachers and even customized curling rocks.
It was built by Hicks in the Hack Outdoor Curling Club, a group of neighbours who got together about eight years ago to collectively battle the winter blues.
In its first year, members curled on a lake but when lugging the equipment back and forth became too tiresome, they moved the fun to Peter Wagner's property.
Now, as many as 60 people come out to the site to watch and compete in friendly games.
The ice-making process begins by putting a liner on a layer of sawdust before it is flooded with a garden hose.
Then, the curlers smooth the surface with a homemade Zamboni of sorts. Finally, a pressurized tank is used to spray water droplets that quickly freeze into pebbles.
It creates a playable surface, but one that isn't without its quirks.
"It's not like a regular curling rink," said curler Peter Aucoin. Frost conditions can make a big difference, even during the game.
"[The rock] could be going down the left side at the first part of the game and the end of the game, it could be going down the right side. So you have to be really on your game to know what you're doing out there."
Even the rink's curling rocks are homemade.
Salad bowls are used as moulds that are filled with cement, and a steel insert is placed in the bottom so it slides better across the ice.
After a few failed prototypes, the curlers created rocks that felt like the real thing and weighed about 18 kilograms.
When someone donated real curling rocks, they just didn't work as well and were quickly tossed aside, Wagner said.
"It's sort of a great sense of pride when you can make something, and use it," he said.