Questions About Synthetic Ice | Viking Ice


Q: Where did the idea of developing Viking Ice originate?
A: Although Viking was the original synthetic ice in North America, some people claim the idea started in Europe but we don’t really know. It was clear that people were wanting to ice-skate when it was convenient for them, not just when there was ice on the ponds or a skating or hockey contest underway. One of the greatest drivers for creating synthetic ice came from parents who did not want the hassle of driving kids to an ice rink at all times of day and night in order to get ice-time. Local coaching areas and convenience were among the early incentives to create Viking Ice.

Q: How does Viking Ice compare to conventional/real ice?
A: In the world of synthetic ice, Viking Ice is the closest at duplicating the feel and glide of real ice. Professional and amateur skaters plus lab-tests, using ASTM standards, show time and again that Viking Ice offers great skating performance. The “overview” section of this website shows detailed information on why Viking Ice works so well and performs like real ice.

Q: Is synthetic ice safe to skate on?
A: Yes. Unlike other synthetic ice our spline system eliminates problems at panel joints, preventing “tripping” of skaters or injuries. Panels lie true because of the spline system and the unique XP® Laminate core. Our core prevents thermal expansion and contraction of the panels, preventing warp and unsafe panel joints. Other synthetic ice products made with a single solid poly panel will move considerably with temperature swings.

Additionally, when the time comes to flip panels (usually 5 – 8 years for our LD panels), the skating side is again solid, flat and true, just like when panels are new. With solid poly, the original surface, after skating and when flipped, causes a convex area on the underside of the panels, creating even greater flex and poor joint quality – a safety hazard, indeed.

Think about it; If we thought a solid thin piece of plastic would be safe and offer good skating experiences, we would make the product and we would be able to reduce the price of Viking Ice. We have tried making lower cost products but we simply are not comfortable putting skaters at risk, or the excellent reputation of Viking Ice.

Q: Does Viking Ice wear faster than other synthetic ice products?
A: Absolutely not! Properly maintained, Viking Ice is the longest lasting, most durable synthetic ice product on the market. Some competitors, using imported panels, claim to have long-wearing materials but in truth, our North American made panels have very long life and skating performance.

Q: What’s the difference between Commercial and Residential grades of Viking Ice?
A: The thickness of the surface material, also known as UltraGlide444™ is the difference between the two grades of Viking Ice. The Commercial, or Heavy Duty Viking Ice, offers thicker skating surfaces to provide longer-lived value. The Residential and more portable panels, or Light Duty Viking Ice, are ideal for practice rinks and smaller in–home applications.

Q: Is today’s Viking Ice the same product as the original Viking Ice introduced in 1985?
A: The concept is the same but we have made improvements. Viking Ice has continually worked to evolve our products through rigorous testing and development. This ongoing process has helped us achieve the best glide, truest surface and longest wearing product available. More than a few of our early products are still in service – dating back to 1985. This level of performance is only achieved through a commitment to quality, product development and both engineering and end-user research. We listen to the marketplace and to users of Viking Ice.

Q: How is the “concept” of Viking Ice the same yet the product’s different?
A: The Viking Ice concept bonds an inner core or substrate with a high-performance and durable skating surface. At the core of Viking Ice is XP Laminate™ which is an ultra–strong, stable, solid and true laminated core material that’s bonded to Viking Ice’s proprietary UltraGlide444™ skating surface material. Because of the longevity, effectiveness and operating history of this concept Viking Ice has continued to produce its unique synthetic ice product. Our major changes have been improved “glide” and color stability. Originally, Viking Ice panels were 2 X 2 – feet square. Today we supply 4 X 4 – feet panels (1.22 X 1.22 meters) for faster installation. We’ve looked, tried and tested other concepts and materials but nothing performs better than Viking Ice.

Q: Are most synthetic ice rinks in homes?
A: Initially, the greatest number of Viking Ice rinks were to private parties. As skaters realized how good the “glide” is on Viking Ice, the word got out and coaches, entrepreneurs and the entertainment industry saw the value in synthetic ice skating surfaces. Today, Viking Ice sales volume is higher into commercial or coaching facilities than residential, but the number of individual sales for private rinks remains high.

Q: What were some of Viking Ice’s early commercial applications?
A: The first commercial sale of Viking Ice was to a hockey goalie school in Montreal, Canada. Radio City Music Hall was another one of the earliest professional users of Viking Ice – for the grand shows they put on stage every year. They still perform on Viking Ice. Hockey coaching uses continued to grow in the early years, especially goalie and puck-shooting training centers. That Montreal goalie school with Viking Ice is still using the product, now in multiple locations.

Q: Is it safe for kids to skate on.
A: Absolutely. We cannot speak for all synthetic ice, however, because the spline connectors developed by Viking Ice are unique and they are what make the difference in safety and overall skating enjoyment and performance. Without splines, panel joints will flex and cause a ridge or gap that will trip skaters. This is why Viking Ice never moved to the solid poly panels that came in after we created a market. Solid poly is certainly less expensive to make, but safety and skating performance are our top priorities.

Q: Does Viking Ice feel and glide like real ice?
A: Yes. Our patented additives minimize friction and increase the ease with which skaters glide over the surface. Both professional and recreational skaters can notice the difference. Just try skating backward on other panels… Viking Ice has a glide similar to frozen ice about 15 to 20-minutes after the ice resurfacing machine has made a re-surfacing pass. And there is no need for an expensive and labor intensive ice resurfacing machine or the downtime necessary for re-surfacing the ice.

Q: Will my customers enjoy skating on Viking Ice?
A: Yes. Skaters will love Viking Ice almost as much as you will. Operating costs and initial costs are modest. For commercial or coaching rinks, because people enjoy skating on Viking Ice®, they come back over and over creating a quicker return on investment for commercial installations. For private rinks, the glide and convenience of Viking Ice achieves the practice, skill enhancement and enjoyment intended by installing Viking Ice.

Q: Where is Viking Ice manufactured?
A: Viking Ice is made in the U.S.A.