The city is once again accepting group applications for those looking to take part in the annual Neighbourhood Outdoor Rink Program.

The program, which allows for residents to build and maintain small skating rinks in their neighbourhoods, provides volunteers with equipment and know-how to put the rinks together and keep them in good shape throughout the coldest parts of the year.

Barb Welander with Parks and Transportation says while they always get a good amount of support for the program, it can heavily fluctuate year over year.

“I’ve had up to 38 one year, and as low as 11 in another year, so it just depends on how much snow we get, how much people are available and who want to do the work.”

Applicants must have a group of five committed volunteers to build and maintain the rinks and specify a location for installation. Welander says after that, it’s a pretty cut and dry procedure.

“I meet with every group, either the whole group or as many we can get together…and we go through a little training session on how to operate the pipes so they don’t freeze up over the wintertime, how to build the rink and how to maintain them so they can get the most use out of them in the winter.”

She adds whatever winter brings, they will offer up tips and tricks for interested parties, including using mother nature as a DIY partner.

“If we happen to get a big snowfall, and there is too much snow to put the boards down to build the rink, they can use the snow. Plow the snow back, shovel it back, and build the boards out of snow and you can flood the rink that way, also.”

You can find more information and registration forms on the City of Grande Prairie website.