Millions of people are under the impression that synthetic ice is harmful to ice skate blades. At one time that may have been true, but today it is a whole different story. If anything, real ice is more of a danger to the blades than anything. Don’t believe it? Keep reading.
Artificial Ice Rinks 1960
Back in the ‘60s when synthetic ice made its first appearance in the world it was much different than the kind of flooring we have available to us today. The type of plastic that the ice was formed out of did not have the strength and rigidity that we are used to today. In order for skaters to be able to skate on the surface, a constant stream of lubricant had to be in place, or the floor would not be slick enough for the blades. In those times, it could have been that the materials that they had to use in order to maintain a successful ice skating environment caused damage to the blades.
Real Ice and Ice Skate Blades
Ultimately what causes the most damage for ice skating blades is walking across the concrete floors from the benches to the ice rink. As the metal grinds into hard surfaces, tiny rocks and other particles dig into the blade and cause chips. If you excessively walk on hard surfaces with your ice skates on, you will more than likely cause severe damage to them.
When skating on real ice rinks where there is a lot of traffic pebbles, rocks, pieces of dirt, and sand can become embedded into the ice. When pieces of rock and other materials litter an ice flooring it has the potential to chip away at metal ice blades. It is important for owners and maintainers of real ice rinks to scrape them clean of debris on a regular basis and make sure that pieces of grit are removed.
Synthetic Ice and Skate Blades
High-quality synthetic ice is made out of synthetic polymer plastics that are designed in order to be as identical to real ice as possible. With the synthetic ice of today, there is no need to add any kind of lubricants or other additives in order to make it slick enough to skate on. What this means is that there is no extra layer of substance for grit or rocks to become trapped in. You never have to worry about pieces of debris being stuck on the surface of the flooring because there is nothing for it to stick to. Any dirt, or rocks, or potentially harmful debris can be easily swept away with a broom before they cause any problems.
At the end of the day, it is more likely for you to damage your skate blades by ice skating on natural ice than on artificial ice. If you take good care of your skates and maintain proper sharpening and cleaning habits, they will last you a good while. If you do ruin the blades, it will most likely be from walking on concrete with them. Synthetic ice will not harm your blades.
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