Figure skating champion Denise Biellmann successfully testing Glice® on Swiss TV!

A Swiss company now offers the opposite: The locals in Chile, Qatar and Morocco can put on their ice skates under the sun and turn rounds because the synthetic ice rink from Switzerland does not need refrigeration. If someone would like to try it out, he or she does no not even have to travel far even in Central Switzerland there is an ice skating rink without (real) ice. Raphael Prinz invited a world champion to test it. Brunnen, Canton of Schwyz, directly on the shore of Lake Lucerne: At first glance an ice rink like many others in Switzerland. Only at a second glance you can see: It’s an ice skating rink without (real) ice – a purely synthetic ice rink. The children play ice hockey on plastic panels. And he is the man behind the novelty: the 36-year-old Viktor Meier. His ice skating rink is made of assembled panels that look like kitchen boards. The secret is that when you skate on it, the skate blade cuts the surface. As a result molecules are released, which have a lubricating effect. This creates less friction and you can glide on it almost without effort. Old conventional ice rinks have a high energy consumption. Especially at temperatures above 0°C and under the sun the ice must be cooled down continuously. One square meter of real ice is consuming almost as much energy as a Swiss household. So, a real ice rink of 1’800m2 consumes as much energy as 1’800 Swiss households. With our gliding product it is zero: zero electricity and zero water.” Viktor Meier and his team install their rinks since a while also in southern countries, such as here in Santiago de Chile. They take advantage of the fact that the outside temperature does not matter. And they count on people’s curiosity. “Every child in the world, whether in Asia, Africa or Latin America, knows about ice skating from Hollywood movies. And all actually have the desire to once skate on ice. And if we can bring them this beautiful sport, we actually democratize the world of ice.” But how well is this rink made of polymers and silicone really? Figure skater Denise Biellmann is testing the artificial ice rink for 10vor10. “What are you paying attention to, when you approach this kind of ice rink?” Here I am looking if it looks like real ice. The structure: Is there any layer on it? Is it clean? Could it glide? But this I probably will only feel when I am skating.” The former world champion Biellmann is still ice-skating almost every day. She does figure skating shows and is coaching junior skaters. Today she is skating for the first time on synthetic panels and even tries fast pirouettes. It glides well. Sometimes you have to take care of… Perhaps it is rather a bit slippery. That’s why you need a rather sharp-edged blade, this is important. The feeling in the pirouette is different. The weight must be in a different place of the foot. I cannot do as fast as on normal ice, but this is a question of getting used. If you practice a few days more, you can certainly do more.” The lifetime of the rink allegedly is around 15 years. The company has already sold over 100 rinks. It is quite possible that Denise Biellmann will do her pirouttes more often on plastic panels in the future.

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