Peer-to-peer carsharing app Turo is launching a very Canadian rental service for its SK8 mini ice resurfacer. Over the course of the winter, those in the Greater Toronto Area can use Canada’s largest car-sharing platform to book a four-hour window with the SK8. During this time, the tiny Zamboni can be used to turn their neighbourhood rink into professional-quality ice.
Turo’s SK8 is made in Canada thanks to a partnership with Porta Ice, a company based in Calgary. Porta Ice has been able to take the traditional ice resurfacing machine and scale it down for something more portable and usable for everyday drivers. Best of all, the Turo SK8 is fully electric and has a battery life of around 10 hours.
Turo has tapped Canadian professional ice hockey player Marie-Philip Poulin as the ambassador of the project. Poulin is an Olympic and three-time World champion with the Canadian national team. She has won three gold medals, including one in the recent 2022 Beijing games. The SK8’s $29 booking fee is a direct reference to Poulin’s jersey number, 29.
“Most people can’t believe how tiny it is,” Poulin tells MobileSyrup. “This mini ice resurfacer can come to your backyard and give you perfect ice. I feel every kid wants that in their life! Especially when you play hockey for fun or even for a living. So it’s always good to have so it’s awesome to see. It’s pretty sharp.”
— Steve Vegvari (@SVegvari) February 2, 2023
In a hands-on demo of the Turo SK8, I was able to sit in the hot seat and live out one of the most common Canadian dreams — driving a Zamboni. Thankfully, Turo and Porta Ice not only scaled down the size but controls. The SK8 has a streamlined turnkey start-up. There is only one pedal which controls both the acceleration when pressed down and brakes when easing up on the pedal. The steering wheel is well-proportioned. There’s also an onboard switch to control whether you navigate forward or in reverse.
Much like a traditional Zamboni, the Turo SK8 has a thin blade on the back that shaves the ice. It then applies a thin layer of water from the back. An attached resurfacer towel then ensures the water is dispersed evenly and freezes smoothly. There are onboard controls to raise and lower the blade when you’re not driving on the ice. And yes, I’m also happy to report there’s also a horn.
In terms of driving, the Turo SK8 is surprisingly smooth and quiet. Despite not being a traditional electric vehicle (EV), the ice resurfacer doesn’t really make a sound outside of scraping the ice. Steering is exceptionally smooth after a moment of getting a hang of the acceleration. The front tires of the SK8 can easily catch and slide on the ice if you’re going too fast. Once I got a hang of steering, though, I could see how easy resurfacing a smaller rink could be.
“Whether it’s a spacious SUV to hit the slopes or the latest EV to experience a longer test drive, or, now, a resurfacer that turns your backyard into a professional ice rink, Turo offers an unparalleled selection of vehicles available to Canadians,” Cedric Mathieu, the vice president and head of Turo in Canada said. “Turo is proud to make transportation more fun and accessible in over 700 cities across Canada and we are thrilled to offer local communities a truly unique experience by introducing the Turo SK8, a first of its kind on our platform.”
Starting now, those in the GTA can book a Turo SK8 rental via the company’s website or app on iOS and Android. After successfully booking, Turo actually delivers the SK8 resurfacing machine directly to your door. Following this, the machine can then be used for a four-hour window to resurface a backyard or neighbouring ice rink. The Turo SK8 is available to book for $29. For each booking, Turo is donating and matching all proceeds to KidSport. This charity focuses on supporting financial assistance to children and associating costs of sports registration fees and equipment.
Toronto bookings are available now and slots are available through March 4th. The company has announced that availability in Montreal is “coming soon.” For further terms and conditions on bookings, see the Turo website. Alongside the SK8, Turo offers a selection of over 800 EVs for bookings.