Julie Skinner, New York YardRink Owner Since 2022

Upon retiring from the military, my family and I made the heartfelt decision to return to upstate New York, where we could be closer to our loved ones. Amidst the transition, my seven-year-old son discovered his passion for hockey, prompting us to construct a backyard rink this past winter. With ample space and a desire to provide him with a secure practice area, we made the decision to purchase a YardRink. 

Discovering YardRink: A Recommendation Worth Considering

During a family discussion about setting up an outdoor rink, my sister-in-law recommended YardRink, even though they hadn't yet acquired one. She shared that if they were to invest in another rink for my nephew, who is also an avid hockey player, YardRink would be their top choice due to its affordable price point and exterior tarp design. Trusting her endorsement and after conducting our own research, we confidently selected a YardRink. Our goal was to create a backyard oasis where my son could effortlessly slip into his skates and enjoy his favorite sport.

Our property boasts a pond, with one end reaching a depth of approximately 20 feet. This fact, understandably, always caused me some anxiety. Irrespective of the season, the potential risks were constant, and naturally, my son's passion for hockey tempted him to venture onto the pond's icy surface. However, with the installation of our YardRink, my worries significantly diminished. We taught him that the rink was a safe space, free from the hazards of an unsteady frozen pond. Now, I can breathe easier, knowing he can skate confidently without the concern of breaking through the ice or finding a precarious weak spot.

Uninterrupted Joy: Endless Skating Fun

Although our region didn't experience the coldest winter, my son wasted no time once our YardRink froze over. He would spend hours on the ice, engrossed in his beloved sport. On several occasions, I would join him for hockey drills, and when I stepped off the rink, he would continue skating solo for over an hour and a half—an

impressive feat for an almost eight-year-old. 

Enhancing the Setup: Building a Cozy Skating Experience

In terms of our setup, we strategically placed a barrel near the rink, providing warmth through a comforting fire. We also relocated our picnic table, offering our family a cozy spot to watch our son skate or lace up our own skates to join him. Notably, we aren't the only ones captivated by his skill—the family dog is an avid spectator too! As we think about next season, we are considering adding a platform and outdoor carpeting to create an even better skating experience. 

An Ongoing Journey: Lessons Learned and Future Plans

Despite encountering a few initial challenges in our backyard rink journey, we stand by our decision to invest in a YardRink. It has provided our son a safe haven to pursue his hockey dreams. Looking ahead, we are excited to reassemble our rink and enjoy outdoor family fun. One valuable tip I would impart to others is to start the setup process before the ground—and your hands—freeze!


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