SustainAbility: On Edge Skating

Tucked away between North Avenue and the I-70 Business Loop on the east side of town is a cutting-edge green business.

On Edge Skating is the only year-round synthetic skating rink in the United States.

Charles Crawford and his wife Elizabeth are the entrepreneurs behind this venture, which is still in its infancy.

Crawford started figure skating at the tender age of 3 and progressed to competitive skating. He has been an instructor for 15 years.

Three years ago, the couple moved to Grand Junction and began researching synthetic rinks.

With a synthetic rink there are huge energy and cost savings. No need for refrigeration, compressors or a Zamboni to maintain the ice. Using regular skates you can go skating any time of year in a comfortable climate of 60 degrees.

On Edge opened its doors last November with a 15 square foot synthetic surface made of interlocking plastic polymer panels. The panels are easily installed on any hard, flat surface and dovetail joints create a seamless surface. A nontoxic glide enhancer that doesn’t stain is applied to the surface.

Although this is a new concept in the United States, according to Crawford, Canada has embraced the idea with about one-third of the rinks in the process of converting to synthetic surfaces, including full-size rinks.

The idea is beginning to catch on in this country, too, with USA Hockey, and the NCAA already recognizing synthetic surfaces for hockey training. The surface provides 90 percent of the glide ratio of traditional ice giving athletes a slightly better workout.

Crawford plans to more than double the size of his synthetic rink within the next few months creating a surface large enough to serve as a training venue for hockey programs and figure skaters.

Locally, there are about a dozen competitive figure skaters who must travel many miles to train. A larger rink could remedy that situation and save gas. Mesa State’s hockey club and local youth programs could also take advantage of On Edge Skating rink.

“We consider ourselves a community business first,” said Crawford. He sees the need for recreational outlets for youths and young families.

The rink offers youth- and adult-only classes of Learn to Skate, a six-week U.S. Figure Skating program. A new semester of classes begins this week so make haste to reserve a spot. Crawford would like to see more than 50 students in the program this summer.

More than 20 hours each week are devoted to open skating, which has been especially popular on weekends. The facility also offers skating merchandise, blade sharpening and more.

In keeping with the community theme, On Edge launched a Green Skate Initiative, accepting old skates from competitive figure skating clubs around the country that are just perfect for use by Learn to Skate program participants at no charge.

Two recycling efforts will be launched any day. A Dream Machine kiosk, a joint effort of PepsiCo and Waste Management, will accept aluminum cans and plastic bottles and issue a receipt good for discounts at the rink.

Proceeds from the recycled materials go to Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities. On Edge also will be a drop-off location for laser and ink jet cartridge recycling.

On Edge is a member of Green Guides of the Grand Valley and participates in the Chamber of Commerce Blue Band Wagon campaign. Crawford is looking for community-minded businesses to become marketing partners in the endeavor.

On Edge Skating is at 2944 I-70 Business Loop, Suite 208. For information go to http://www.onedgeskating.com or call Crawford at 812-4109.

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Adele Israel is a Grand Junction writer who has been involved in sustainability efforts for some 20 years. Have a question or column idea for Adele? E-mail her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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