Ice Blocking Instructions

How To Make A Good Ice Block…

Ice Blocking Collage 2For many Groups, Ice Blocking has become a traditional beginning of year event that brings Sections together for a great ‘adventurous’ activity.

Ice Blocking is like tobogganing, but done on a (steep) grassy slope during warmer months. It involves pulling an icy sled (over-sized ice block) to the top of a grassy hill, and sliding down it sitting on an old towel..

Fantastic Fun for Scouts of all ages!


So what goes in to a good ice-block?

  • cardboard box,
  • rope,
  • plastic liner (2 x garbage bags),
  • water,
  • old towel (to sit upon)
Size The ice block should have a surface area of (at least) an A3 Document (30 cm x 40 cm) and a depth of 20 cm.  These dimensions are variable and may be constrained by the freezer space available.  The larger the surface area, the faster you will go.
Handle To be able to pull the ice block to the top of the hill, as well as hold on to when sliding down, the rope handle needs to stick out about 1.5 m from the ice surface.  This can either be a single length of rope, or a loop that has its ends securely embedded in the ice block.

Ice Blocking Collage 1Preparation (at least 4 days before the activity)

  1. Look out for a good size box that will fit in your freezer (or someone else’s!).
  2. Line this box with plastic bags.  We suggest using two garbage bags inside each other in case one leaks.  You may need to cut the bag so that it opens up and can fully cover the inside of the box). Tape the bag to the outside of the box so that when it is filled, the water will not touch the cardboard.
  3. Fill the mold with water. Being careful to support the bottom of your mold, fill it with cold water.
  4. Tie a figure 8 knot in (each) end of the rope that’s being put into the ice block.  Place the end(s) of the rope into the box, being careful that the ends sit mid-way through the block.
  5. Freeze the block for 2-3 days.

Ice blockTraps for new players

Ensure the rope handle does not extend through to the bottom of the ice block… There’s no better way of preventing sliding than rope friction between the ice and grass.  Some sources recommend freezing in two layers, adding the rope after the first layer has frozen.  We tried this and found that some blocks delaminated between the two layers.