On midday in mid-June, with the temperature at 81, people in shorts, T-shirts and sunscreen now skate around on a outdoor rink — with fake ice made from plastic! “Does it look like real ice?”
It does, from afar. Up close, the plastic panels appear snapped together like puzzle pieces. It doesn't feel like real ice, it isn't cold like the real thing, but sure seems just as smooth.
This is the latest in skating’s quest for outdoor year-round ice, partly to help skaters and hockey players who jockey for expensive ice time at a limited number of indoor rinks, some of which close for the summer.
Synthetic rinks have opened at the Museum of Natural History in New York, which had one last winter, and in municipalities like Great Bend, Kan., and Tallahassee, Fla. Brock University in Ontario trains young hockey players on a fake ice treadmill. And in Middletown, Del., a permanent rink called Skate Unlimited is also made of plastic, eliminating the expense and environmental cost of water for ice-making, and Zambonis.