Man Builds Backyard Ice Rink Using 15,000 Gallons of Water

Jan 16, 2013 5:28pm

It’s probably safe to say the children in this video are quickly becoming, if not already, the most popular kids in their suburban Chicago neighborhood.

Their dad’s cousin, Matt Vriesema, 30, of Villa Park, Ill., built them this incredible homemade ice rink in their backyard using 15,000 gallons of water.

“The construction took five days,” Vriesema told ABCNews.com. “It would have taken longer but this was our third year doing it. I was able to reuse the boards, so there was no grunt work of cutting and painting. We’ve perfected it over the years.”

Vriesema captured the entire five-day construction process in a series of more than 28,000 photos on his GoPro Hero2 camera he mounted outside, and edited them together in this time-lapse video.

“I mounted the camera in a fixed spot,” he said. “It has a case around it. It’d shift a little bit, but I was able to zoom in and tilt and adjust so they matched almost perfectly. I was intentional about putting it in a fixed point so it wasn’t bouncing around day to day,” he explained.

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This year’s warmer winter caused the water to take a bit longer to freeze than expected, but with a little patience and a lot of persistence, the final result is definitely worth it.

I played hockey growing up. So did my cousin. And the kids just love skating. It was their idea. We were sitting around thinking about how cool it would be to have a rink in the backyard,” Vriesema said. “I’m pretty handy myself, and I was excited about it and ready to expand the idea to what you see today. I tried to take up as much of the backyard as possible. Over the past three years we’ve been able to refine it.  It’s a lot of trial and error.”

Although Vriesema only gets over to his cousin’s house a few times a month to hit the ice, he rests assured knowing the younger members of the family put ice skates to plenty of use in the rink.

“They absolutely love it. I believe my little cousin is going to have a birthday party or some kind of party with all his friends over. Neighbors know about it and it’s definitely a cool thing the kids talk about at school,” said Vriesema.

“Unless I give up on building it, I see it happening for a while, or at least until the kids get bored with skating or leave for college.”

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