No Ice Needed

For those who think ice skating is purely a winter sport, a new synthetic ice rink set to open Saturday at Grand Vue Park will dispel the notion that ice rinks require cold weather.

Workers began building the $16,000 year-round ice rink Wednesday near the park’s barn and the former grounds of the miniature golf course. Bare Bones Inc., based in Bradford Woods, Pa., is handling the project.

Bare Bones’ Bob Gierl said the rink’s surface material is made of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene sheets with a “secret ingredient,” which makes it slippery and mimics the feel of a frozen water rink. Gierl said the rink surface took about 30 minutes to install and will last for 20-25 years.

Although some published reports indicate some synthetic ice surfaces can become scratched and may wear down skate blades more quickly than natural ice, Gierl said a synthetic rink like the one installed at Grand Vue is more economical and takes much less maintenance than traditional ice rinks.

Synthetic ice “takes no electricity. It doesn’t need a Zamboni, and it requires no maintenance,” Gierl said. “It has more friction than frozen water, so it takes more energy to skate, which develops better skating and stronger legs.”

According to park Manager Craig White, the project was funded by money set aside every year for park development. He said the rink was built to bring another family activity to the community, especially for young children and hockey teams.

In the winter, the rink will be relocated to the zipline base camp, White said, and a Christmas tree will be put up in the middle of the surface during the holidays.

“We’ll play it to look like Rockefeller Center,” White said. “It’ll be a winter wonderland up there.”

Members of the Marshall County Commission and Chamber of Commerce will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the rink’s grand opening at 10 a.m. Saturday. “Spike,” the Wheeling Nailers’ mascot, will also be present.

Skating will be free to the public from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. that day. Skates for rent will be provided in limited quantities by Play It Again Sports in Wheeling; however, visitors are encouraged to bring their own skates if they have them.

Regular rink hours have yet to be determined. For daily updates on the rink and more information, visit the park’s website at