WONDERLAND : This skaters were gliding on polymer panels that simulate the slip and feel of ice. On what is essentially plastic.

''The rink showed up in a big giant truck,'' said David Lemmond, the hotel's general manager.

Made by Glice, a company based in Lucerne, Switzerland, this rrink requires no cold weather, special blades, electricity or water [other than for cleaning]. When skating season is over, the panels can be stacked and stored. In fact, Glice makes skating season a year round affair.

It's still slick, but Glice has a bit more ''give'' than real ice, so it's less punishing if you fall hard. ''We have never ice-skated before so far us, this is better,'' said Baibi Hamiff, who is far from Guyana and was visiting New York and the Willam Vale rink with her young daughter and son.

A decade ago, Toni Vera, a professional ice hockey player in Spain and an engineer was unhappy with the state of synthetic ice. He spent eight years testing different ingredients until he found a surface that met his expectations.

Mr. Meier, who is from Lucerne but got an M.B.A. at the University of Dallas, learned about Mr. Vera from a BBC show about inventors and persuaded Mr. Vera to go into business.

They formed GLICE, a portmanteau of ''ice'' and ''glide''. Their first client in 2012 was  BASE Hockey a Canadian company that operates small hockey training centers.

Mr. Meier is as secretive as Willy Wonka when it comes to GLICE formula. ''But I will tell you, the ingredients, we ship them to Germany, where they get pressed by special process and high pressure and high heat,'' he said.

''Then the panels get cut with numeric, computerized machines to create a tongue-and-groove connection, allowing them to come together seamlessly.''

All in all, the owners plan to roll out the Glice more often in the future. ''Maybe we will do Christmas in July, and have people skate in shorts and T-shirts on the roof,''

Just as heated pools can make swimming appealing in winters, synthetic rinks can now bring the pastimes of ''ice'' skating and hockey to warmer areas.

The World Students Society thanks author, Alyson Kreuger.


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