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March 4, 2014

Backyard rinks a hit in New Hampshire

Backyard rinks are popular in Granite State


Chris Mader of Pelham said he started building his family’s outdoor rink after a near disaster at a local pond.

“My son was skating on a small pond and fell through the ice,” he said. “He was fine, but he was afraid to skate on a real pond again. I thought that building my own rink would end up being a lot safer.”

Mader said his kids often wake up early before school to take a twirl on the ice.

“They love it,” he said. “My youngest daughter is getting into hockey, so she practices her shooting, skating and stickhandling. My other daughter is getting into figure skating. It’s a great way to kill time during a cold winter day.”

His rink is strategically set up in his yard.

“It needs to be close to the laundry room, so we can use hot water to clean the rink,” he said.

Beyrent said he uses a hose to clean his rink, but has bigger plans for the future.

“I’ve seen attachments you can put on John Deere tractors,” he said. “It can be like a mini-Zamboni.”

When snow falls, rink owners need to get out there quickly or risk ruining the ice surface.

“We just take our snow blower and go right over it,” Beyrent said.

He said he put up his rink in mid-December. He hopes to use it for at least a couple more weeks before the warm weather comes.

“Everything is temporary,” Proulx said. “It’s easy to take down. Some families ask me to leave the boards up and they make it into a little soccer field in the summer.”

Christopher Beyrent’s favorite thing about having a backyard rink is hosting birthday parties and playing pick-up games with his friends and family.

“Games with the family is fun,” he said. “Except when my brother checks me over the boards.”

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