The Perfect Remedy to Pandemic Boredom: Homemade Ice Rinks.

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“The Moulton Centre” banner at Jeff Moulton’s homemade ice rink. Photo credit: Jeff Moulton

Charlotte Pierce, Writer

The Covid-19 pandemic has made finding entertainment challenging due to safety regulations. Members of our community here in St.Albans, Vt. have come up with a clever way to have some fun: homemade ice rinks.

Bellows Free Academy’s Jeff Moulton, a social studies teacher, has been making homemade ice rinks for the past four years. This year’s rink, in particular, has been a savior for him and his family. It offers them the excitement of skating and playing hockey on a rink in the comfort of their own front lawn. It has also given them something stable to focus on during this time of uncertainty. 

“Building the rink has offered me a tremendous amount of peace of mind. It gives me great satisfaction to see how something that we have created comes into fruition with a little help from mother nature. Watching people enjoy the rink makes me very happy because you can see how many hours of work has put many smiles on the faces of people who use the rink,” said Moulton. 

Due to the COVID 19 restrictions, it has been difficult for people to go out and skate on indoor public rinks.  According to Mark Deso, who is responsible for the scheduling of the ice rink at Collins Perley, “BFA P.E. class has occupied it some of the time playing Broomball; other than that, we have been unable to hold any community events such as public skating or Stick & Puck.”  However, at your own house, you have full control and there are fewer restrictions. 

Moulton explained, “First, I can control the population as to who uses the rink and when they use the rink.  Second, it is an outdoor activity where masks are still being used to mitigate any risk. Third, single house families or ‘quaranteams’ may only use the rink exclusively, so that they are not exposed to anyone outside of their bubble. Fourth, the rink provides personal and convenient access for my family to use at any time.” 

Homemade ice rinks are perfect for COVID safe fun and are easy to replicate at home. Moulton has had years of experience making ice; he first began tending ice at the Collins Perley with his father. “My Dad and I had the 1 o’clock in the morning shift…I don’t know who we made angry to get that shift…I learned very quickly how to make ice, which is just spraying it lightly.  You can’t oversaturate the snow or the ice; otherwise, it will just melt the snow,” Moulton said. He has used this same technique to create his home ice rink. He puts 2×12 wooden boards and wooden beams around the perimeter of his at-home ice rink to support the ice. This creates a frame for the rink, which he has adorned with lights and banners to make it look appealing. He creates the actual ice by packing down snow with a plow and uses a variety of homemade contraptions to evenly distribute water over the snow’s surface. 

Although he learned techniques for making ice with his father, he also relies on the Internet as a source of information and advice about the rinks.  “Luckily, these days we have the Internet that we can turn to to gather insight on how to construct homemade rinks or pre-fabricated rinks that quite a few businesses offer today,” Moulton said. 

Having your own homemade ice rink is more realistic than you might think.  With a little work and determination, you can have your own place to skate away the pandemic boredom. If you are interested in making a home ice rink of your own, there are many great resources on Youtube and other sites that can help you out. Good luck!