Aspen readies Iselin Field for springtime use |

Aspen readies Iselin Field for springtime use

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado
Courtesy of the Aspen Parks Department A front-end loader and a snowcat push snow off of the Iselin Field artificial turf on Thursday in order to prepare the surface for spring uses such as baseball, soccer and lacrosse.

ASPEN – The city’s Parks Department worked Thursday, and planned to spend a few hours Friday, removing snow from Iselin Field off of Maroon Creek Road near the Aspen Recreation Center.

Tom Rubel, parks operations superintendent, said the effort to remove more than 200 dump truck loads of snow – an estimated 3,000 cubic yards of the white stuff – is being done in preparation for spring sports such as baseball, soccer and lacrosse. The Aspen High School baseball team hopes to begin practicing there next week, he said.

Aspen Skiing Co. donated machinery and manpower in the form of a Snowcat plow and its driver. The city borrowed a mini-loader from the Aspen School District to remove the snow that the snowcat leaves behind delicately so as not to damage the 60,000-square-foot artificial field.

The snowcat, heavy machinery that pushes larger amounts of snow, can’t get as close to the edge of the artificial surface as the mini-loader, with its round-edged bucket, can, Rubel explained.

He said the snow was between 1 and 2 feet deep when the work started Thursday morning. Getting the bulk of the snow off the field now will save the city a lot of time and money to remove it later. By pushing it off to the side where it will melt, the city won’t need to use dump trucks in the spring to haul it off.

Rubel said by using two tractors to push the snow off to the side and let it melt – in lieu of waiting a month and removing the snow from the area using a single tractor and hundreds of dump truck trips – the city is working toward one of its environmental goals.

“One of the big advantages is the lower effect on the carbon footprint,” he said. “Instead of being out there four days, at least four days, and not using all those trucks to remove the snow out there, because there’s no place out there to store it … that’s the biggest impact. And, we get the field ready for the kids.”

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