You can tell the difference between an elementary school in Minnesota and anywhere else that I have lived by the accompanying hockey rinks. With snowy weather for more than half the year hockey is the predominant sport. Coming from California I spent most my recess spread eagle on the ice, feeling more like the puck.
I remember one year it snowed a couple feet. My dad got a shovel and started clearing a patch of grass. We thought he was crazy. He instructed us to help shovel the snow into a rectangular border a few feet high. We packed down the inside. Then we really thought it was crazy when he let the water run at one end. Before long we had a layer of water throughout our snow pack. He turned off the water line for good for the rest of the winter, but by morning we had an ice rink in our backyard. I got a lot better at ice skating and hockey that year.