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Digital Subscriptions > Cottage Life > Winter 2016/17 > Rink rules, clam claim & stink stop

Rink rules, clam claim & stink stop

Cottage Q&A

WHAT weather conditions generate the best natural ice for skating?

—AN ICE PRINCESS

Gloomy ones. “If I could pick the most ideal weather for my rinks it would be minus 10°C, no wind, no direct sun, and no snowfall,” says Tim Armata, who maintains the lake ice at Alberta’s Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. That’s what made for “the best, smoothest ice I have ever skated on, and it’s only happened twice in my 11 years here.”

Wind keeps the ice from freezing uniformly. “You get seams,” says Nevil Knupp, a Crystal Lake, Ont., cottager who creates a rink on his lake every winter. “The ice isn’t consistent. It’s like you’ve painted a surface, then added more coats to only one part.” He says a shaded area, sheltered from the wind, makes the best cottage rink. If you plan to maintain a rink, either keep it clear and snow-free all the time, or leave it alone until “just before rink day.” Any foot traffic on top of an unprepped surface can cause imperfections in the ice.

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Get outside! 50+ ways to embrace the magic of winter. Snowmobile buyer's guide. Wolves in crisis. The coolest hot tubs. 25 cottage gifts. Best cottage photos of 2016.
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