Two-step preparation stage:
- Snow packing: Following a sufficient snowfall, snow is packed until a 5 cm layer of snow is achieved. A period of hardening follows.
- Watering: The surface is then watered, three times or more nightly, between 8 p.m. and noon the following day, depending on the weather, until a 10 cm layer of ice is achieved. A minimum nighttime temperature of -5 degrees Celsius is necessary to allow the watering of ice rinks.
How does it work?
- The ice in outdoor skating rinks must be 10 cm thick (30 cm for the Ruisseau and Lac-Beauchamp ice rinks). This requirement will slow down any thawing and melting when the weather is warmer, and should therefore extend the skating period.
- Ice rinks can usually be opened 5 to 7 days after the beginning of the preparation stage.
- The opening and maintenance of outdoor skating rinks are weather-dependent. The temperature, winds and amount and type of precipitations are all factors that can interfere with ice production.
- During the preparation phase, it is important not to venture on ice rinks, since the weight of people on the forming ice can alter the condition of the ice surface.
Hours of operation
- Skating rinks are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., subject to good weather conditions. See ice condition.
- Snow is removed from skating rinks only after an accumulation of snow of 2 cm or more. If less than 20 cm is forecast, the snow removal and resurfacing operation will begin within a maximum of one hour after the snowfall ends. A 9-hour delay is necessary to remove the snow from all skating rinks.
- When more than 20 cm of snow is forecast, snow will be removed from the ice after half of the accumulations forecast have fallen. For every additional day of snow, one snow removal per day before 3 p.m. will be carried out.
- Snow created by the friction of skates on the ice can be removed by skaters.
- The rinks are flooded four times a week when the temperature is at -5 degrees Celsius at night. Watering days are on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. If watering is not possible because of weather conditions, it will take place on the following day if conditions allow it.
- Gatineau has 85 outdoor skating rinks throughout the city:
- 3 general public rinks;
- 53 rinks either with or without boards;
- 4 Senators rinks;
- 25 neighbourhood rinks.