|The Olympic Oval is home to the fastest ice in the world, attracting the best athletes from Canada and around the world to train and compete in our world class facility. Every year we welcome thousands of visitors, public skaters, athletes and coaches to our building, located on the University of Calgary campus.
The Olympic Oval has three ice surfaces, one long track speed skating oval and two Olympic-size hockey rinks, which fit inside the oval ice.
Long Track Speed Skating
The large oval ice track is used for long track speed skating training and competition and public skating. It is 400m around by 13m wide.
This rink is used primarily for short track speed skating training competitions. It's an International size rink measuring at 30m by 60m. The Centurian ST-2000 safety mat system surrounds the north rink to reduce the chance and severity of injury. Other sports such as figure skating, power skating and hockey can use the rink for training as well.
The University of Calgary men's and women's Dino hockey teams train and compete on this rink. It is also an international size rink measuring at 30m by 60m. This rink is also used for hockey and figure skating.
Making The Fastest Ice in the World
The fastest ice in the world is made with demineralized water. This type of water reduces the amount of dirt and mineral build-up that increases friction between the ice and skate blades. Olympic Oval ice is laid directly onto concrete, and then painted according to the needs of the sport. The ice is generally one inch thick.
The temperatures of the three ice surfaces are independently controlled and can range from -2 to -7 degrees Celsius, depending on the needs of the activity.
The Olympic Oval owns two ice resurfacing machines called Zambonis. One is one-and-a-half times larger than a standard size Zamboni and there is only one other such machine in Canada. The Zambonis are designed to shave one to three millimetres off the ice to remove dirt that has drifted onto the ice during the course of the day. Flooding removes any imperfections, keeping the ice smooth, level and of course, fast!
Maintaining the oval ice, a surface where world records are consistently broken, is no easy feat. Factors such as humidity, air temperature, air circulation, as well as the number of spectators all make a difference, and need to be carefully monitored and controlled. Our ice technicians are continually looking for ways to make sure that the Olympic Oval continues to hold the title of "Fastest Ice in the World!"