This is more to solicit advice and share what experience I have so far.
I am into winter swimming. Hence the name "Morzh", which translated into English means "Walrus" (this is how we call people you call "Polar bears").
No I am not a club member and do not do mass events. This is why I used my AGP for this purpose so far with some success (or not a whole lot of problems).
Unfortunately (well, no...fortunately) I am selling the old house and with it goes the AGP; I have IGP in the new place and it won't let itself to this much abuse as the AGP did. So I am looking for the least expensive and most effective way of giving myself what I need to resume my winter swimming.
Here's how I've done it so far: I simply did not cover the pool. My pool had the deep end and it was a fiberglass (I think) Doughboy oval one.
When the water is cold it is less critical to add chlorine etc (I am the only user, so...), it stays clean.
When the weather is windy I run circulation to catch most leaves and scoop the rest, it is not labour-intensive.
When it is a bit sub-freezing (down to 15F or so) overnight (it is usually much warmer in the day here in NJ) I run the pump and it keeps ice from forming. I run it as long a sub-freezing persists. If it gets above 32F I stop the pump.
Usually this lasts me all the way into the 1st decade of January (used to be even better but the last couple of winters was pretty bad here).
When I feel that the temps will plummet too deep, I disconnect and drain the filter, the pump, close the return and the skimmer (yes involves some pain, keeping hands in ice water trying to put on the PVC cover that has lost all the flexibility ) and then let it freeze. I do not cover it.
Have done it for the last 8 or so years.
But as I said, I have moved, and I need to be able to keep the winter swimming going.
So I am exploring what else could be done.
One way is building a smaller AGP. Wasteful, one still has to keep the water circulating, algae from growing, brain eating amoebas from brain eating.....etc. Expenses. Though this can be really small pool. But it needs a deep part.
An inflatable...I don't think it will do that well in the winter.
I'd prefer something that is a capital expense but then has very little operating expenses. But I cannot think of many....or any.
So I wonder if anyone has any ideas or experience.