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Iceless Skating Rinks - Cool Idea for a Warming World

One skating rink please, hold the ice...One skating rink please, hold the ice...

 

Global warming may have put a chill into the hearts of winter sports fans, but Japan's Mitsubishi Plastics' reply is "bring it on!" Through their subsidiary company Astro Corp., Mitsubishi will be introducing the newest generation of iceless skating rinks to Japan this coming June.



This ain't no rinky-dink rink!This ain't no rinky-dink rink!

 

The technology was originally developed in Spain by Extraice S.L. and Astro Corp. is the company's exclusive agent in Japan. Ice skating surged in popularity following figure skater Shizuka Arakawa's gold medal triumph in the last Winter Olympics and the crowded country has not been able to meet the demand for rink space.

Iceless rinks not only can be set up in warmer parts of Japan, but are also much cheaper to operate: approximately $190,000 a year can be saved in electricity and water costs.



Summertime, and the skating is easy...Summertime, and the skating is easy...

 

19-year-old amateur skater Risa Mochizuki agrees, saying, "There aren't enough rinks in Japan, so this is definitely a plus. It may be difficult to practice everything on this rink surface, but it's good for partial moves like spins and steps." Here's Mochizuki showing her stuff on a demonstration resin rink surface set up by Astro Corp. in Yokohama:


The new iceless skating rinks will be formed from 6-ft by 3-ft plastic panels, each weighing 84 lbs. and measuring just under an inch thick. A special wax is applied to the surface of the panels once they're assembled. The end result is a surface that is nearly 90% as "slippery" as real ice and can be skated on using normal, unmodified ice skates. Pretty slick, if you ask us!

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Steve Levenstein
J A P A N O R A M A
InventorSpot.com

Comments
May 16, 2008
by Lady Bee
Lady Bee's picture

Very green!

What a great invention! I love how green we can be, if we all put our minds to it.

May 22, 2008
by Anonymous

Rinks

This surface idea has been around in North America since the early 1990's. I skated on plastic surfaces in Fargo North Dakota in 1996 and a full hockey rink in Westwood Indiana for the past several years. I like that it is being mass produced, as it was a fun alternative to ice hockey!

May 23, 2008
by Anonymous

Stopping

Can you stop on the iceless rink like you can on ice? Say I'm going full speed...can I go sideways and spray up some wax shavings?

Jun 8, 2008
by Anonymous

Not a New invention

Plastic, synthetic ice has actually been around for over 40 years in Canada and the US. I skated on one in 1979 and at trade show. It has improved slightly since then, but it still is by no means a skater favorite.