As much as I enjoyed the Heritage Classic (hey, I didn't even dislike the Flames' off-white pants!), it's time to swing the topic of conversation back to my rink. This is the time of year when you don't have to be an expert weather forecaster to know that, sadly, the end is near for this year's edition of the backyard rink.
Last Wednesday evening, February 16, Joey and I had a good skate on the rink. While I scraped off some snow that we received in the previous days, Joe practiced his stickhandling by weaving through our boots. He also lined up some pucks and worked on his shot. When I finished shoveling, we practiced some passing and then we played some keep-away. Joey had lots of fun with that last activity in particular, and when we were finished he looked up at me and asked if we could play it again the next day. Based on the forecast, I had to say probably not.
Unfortunately, the forecast was correct...we got a full day of above-zero temperatures (topping out at almost plus 6) and more than a little sunshine. High temperatures are bad enough, but the sun at this time of year is a real rink-killer. So, when I got home from work on Thursday, the first thing I did was head out to the backyard to check out the damage. We probably lost up to a few centimetres of ice, which means that a couple of the rink's high points were poking out, and so we didn't go for a skate on the very soft ice.
On Friday we got a decent little snow storm (school was cancelled in the afternoon), and we received what seemed to be at least a few centimetres of snow every day until today. It has also been very windy, and occasionally sunny, so I haven't cleared the snow off the rink - this is prime melting weather. For example, the patches of bare asphalt on the driveway, once they catch some sun, really melt the nearby snow. This melting principle also applies to the rink.
The forecast is sunny for the next few days. Also, the forecast for this Thursday is a high of plus 1, so I will leave the snow there until at least then. Right now they are calling for a bit more snow on Friday, with a high of plus 3. (These temperatures are from Environment Canada; the Weather Network is calling for highs of minus 1, but with sunshine that kind of weather is still hard on the ice.) Both forecasts say that the next few days after Friday look cold-ish. So, if everything goes well, I'll clear the snow off at some point and either go for a skate (watch out for the bare patches!) or give it a flood. If everything goes really well, we might get another skate out there...and maybe some more smiles like this one: