Ice rink to have rentals, food |

Ice rink to have rentals, food

Jill Beathard
Snowmass Sun

A $50,000 contribution will allow the ice rink at Snowmass Village Town Park to have skate rentals, concessions and scheduled free skate and hockey times this winter.

The money is coming from the Holy Cross Enhancement Fund, which Holy Cross Energy puts aside for the town to use for enhancing community and recreation amenities.

In past winters, a group of local volunteers and donors have built the ice rink on the rodeo grounds, gradually raising money to buy a Zamboni, boards and other equipment. The town has contributed in the past, but this year its funds also will be used to allow the Snowmass Village Recreation Center to offer skates, concessions and scheduling.

As of last week, Recreation Director Andy Worline wasn’t sure of rental prices or details of the winter schedule. However, the schedule will include open skate time, which he defines as “skate at your own risk”; public skate, which will be supervised and is when recreation staff will operate rental and concession booths; and stick and puck times for hockey players. Users can still rent skates during open skate by going to the rec center.

Worline also hopes to rent it out for events. He would like to create a recreational hockey league but said he’s concerned about the conditions of the ice on the outdoor rink being consistent week to week.

The rec center secured some used skates from the Lewis Ice Arena in Aspen to start its rental program. It also has purchased a sharpener to maintain them.

Snowmass Village residents Jack Rafferty and Tom Yocum spearheaded the volunteer effort to build the ice rink in the past. Rafferty said the town getting more involved is a step in the right direction.

“This thing has evolved over a five-year period,” Rafferty said. “It’s a fairly exhaustive task to do this. … As the town gets more involved, it will only get better.”

Rafferty will continue to drive the Zamboni. In addition, the town is asking that Below 32, the name for the business that Rafferty and others operated the rink under, help with setup and takedown.

Assuming Below 32 agrees to help with those services, the town is budgeting $50,000 from the Holy Cross Enhancement Fund for 2013 and $14,775 in the 2014 budget. The town’s contribution will include surface leveling by the Road Division, which already has taken place, portable toilets, plowing and the ice skates and sharpener. It also will pay for staff hours and a contract maintenance worker from Below 32.

The surface of the grounds has been leveled, and the boards and liners have been installed. Crews will start making ice when temperatures drop low enough. That puts it ahead of last year’s opening by a few weeks.