WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Going from concrete to an ice rink takes more than a few seconds.

Paul Jackson has been on the ice since he was 3 years old, so he knows a thing or two about how the process works.

What You Need To Know

  • Paul Jackson has been laying the ice for ice rinks for 15 years

  • The Carolina Thunderbirds refer to Jackson as Coach Paul

  • After the course of a week and many 15 hour days, the ice rink is completed

“Where I’m from in Vermont, everybody skates," Jackson said. 

For 15 years, Jackson has laid ice on ice rinks.

“Couldn’t get away from it so I had to get a place where I can get out and relax, clear my head everyday. Every time I skate, it just clears your head,” Jackson said.

Most of his time on the ice now looks a bit different than when he first started off on skates.

“Right now we’re putting a base coat down of water before we paint. We did two layers last night and we’re doing another this morning, and then we’ll lay some paint over this as soon as it freezes," Jackson said. 

Once the base of the ice is down, it's time to paint and lay out the logos. It's all hands on deck for this part of the process.

“We need a lot of people initially to get the ice down, but once we’re at this juncture, it’s pretty easy going. Now, it’s just a lot of back-and-forth to coat the ice and get it thick enough where we can actually get the zamboni out and let it have it with the ice, or with water, and get the team ready to come," Jackson said.

The zamboni is one of Jackson's favorite parts of his job.

“We’ll take this out to cut out the bad ice and lay down the good fresh ice,” Jackson said of the zamboni.

Some are envious that Jackson is the one who gets to drive the zamboni, especially the hockey players from the Carolina Thunderbirds. The players refer to Jackson as "Coach Paul."

“They all want to drive the zamboni, and when they get up here they think ‘oh, this is a lot different than I thought it was’ and it is. It’s 10,000 pounds. It’s just very different from a car, or truck or anything like that," Jackson said.

Once the ice meets his satisfaction, it's time to have some fun and take a skating break.

“This is a great place to get away. I just enjoy my time on the ice, not only on the zamboni, but out skating,” Jackson said.

After the fun, it's time to pack up the skates and get the zamboni back on the ice.

“That’s the order of the day, more ice,” Jackson said.