Gorham has a public ice rink behind the Gorham Fire Station and next to Narragansett School. Parking is located behind the Fire Station. The rink has a light that can be turned on until 10:00 p.m. by using a switch on the pole at the rink.
The ice rink is simply natural ice. It is not refrigerated outdoor ice. When Mother Nature cooperates, we have great skating.
This year, the staff of Public Works plowed the rink after the first couple of snow storms as it is best to have the ground freeze prior to adding any water. They then brought in a water tanker truck and filled the area to create a rink.
Freezing takes some time and patience as the area is quite large. If you can picture your basic ice tray in your freezer, making outdoor ice is a very similar process only there are external forces at work that can make it tricky.
Temperatures at night must be at or below freezing to maintain outdoor ice. Our recent deep freeze stretch of weather guaranteed that we’d have great skating ice for a few days for sure. During the day, temperatures cannot rise too far above 32 degrees for any sustained period of time or the ice begins to thaw.
When we are between fluctuating temperatures, folks really need to stay off the ice. Going on the ice when it is slushy makes a mess that freezes in. The additional flooding required to fill the mess is very time consuming, and in turn, results in having to wait even longer until it freezes back over.
Snow is a great insulator on the ice so once Public Works has an opportunity to remove snow after storms, the ice can already have begun to melt. This requires more time to reset and freeze again.
The moral to our story is this: when all the pieces of making outdoor ice are right, we have a great skating area in Gorham. Being patient through freezes, thaws, rain, freezing rain, snow storms is all we can ask for. When the elements are right, we are back at it again making skating ice for everyone to enjoy.
The Public Works crew does a great job keeping up with the rink at Narragansett as well as a fairly new addition of skating surfaces up at Little Falls Recreation Area, behind the Old Robie School.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the guys at Gorham Fire Department who often support the rink, too, when they clear the snow or add some water. We appreciate the teamwork that goes into making and maintaining outdoor ice in Gorham. Here’s to just the right mix of temperatures and water for smooth skating this winter.