If you love ice-skating you no doubt have been let down in recent years. Here in New Jersey temperatures have been inconsistent and ponds have not been able to sustain a freeze long enough to make for safe conditions for such a winter activity.

You won’t count me among the disappointed. Ice skates and I don’t quite get along. But for those who have been doing it since childhood these warmer temperatures and poor conditions have been downright frustrating.

Woman and man ice skating. winter outdoors on ice rink. ice and legs

Now, towns in New Jersey are taking matters into their own hands. Certain municipalities are taking meadows or fields and flooding them to have them freeze over. Because it’s not the depth of a pond but only a few inches, these fields are able to freeze much more quickly and are safe.

The Department of Public Works in Madison takes a soccer field and floods it to freeze. Just as soccer season comes to a close it transforms into what the town calls the Rosedale Skating Pond. Again, it’s not a pond at all. No deep water to fall into through ice. It’s a win.

ice skate
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Essex Fells has an amazing setup. Their fire department floods a meadow and creates a big area for general skating and a smaller one for hockey. There’s also a bonfire, warming hut and lights for night skating. Njmonthly.com describes the vibe as a Norman Rockwell scene.

Ahead of its time in this man-made fun, Harding has been creating their own faux frozen pond for decades. There’s a slight depression in a field in Bayne Park which the town floods and allows to freeze over. They wait for the ground to freeze first so it acts like a natural liner.


Then they flood it fractions of an inch at a time until it builds up to a solid three inches frozen. When that safe rink opens they spay it with water several times a day to keep the surface smooth. They report having upwards of a hundred people there some winter nights.

That’s making lemonade out of lemons, even if it’s the frozen variety.

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