Ice bumper car pop up in Snowmass dubbed a success
Since Dec. 18, The Rink at Base Village hasn’t just offered locals and visitors free ice skating. It’s also been a temporary home to 16 ice bumper cars, available for all ages to drive each day.
Over the past two weeks and over 35 hours the ice bumper cars have been available in Snowmass, 1,150 people have paid to try out them out, which has Dawn Blasberg, plaza and events manager for Base Village and The Collective, dubbing the pop-up a huge success.
“Everyone has really enjoyed the cars,” Blasberg said. “They’re unique and something different.”
Bringing something different that draws more people to ice rinks across the country is exactly what Luke Farny and his dad, Mike Farny, have aimed to do through their company, Ice Bumper Cars International.
After Mike saw the need for an alternate form of recreation on ice rinks — namely the rink he works at in Steamboat Springs — and came up with the ice bumper car solution, Luke said he jumped on board to help make the business idea a reality.
“The cool thing about the cars is they attract a whole other demographic that would never go to an ice rink and are very accessible to all people,” Luke said, who also helps run a custom camper van company and splits his time between Longmont and Aspen.
“You’ll hear grandparents say they’ve never been able to do anything with their grandkids like this, which is pretty cool to see.”
For Luke, who has a background in mechanical engineering, helping design the ice bumper cars also has been a cool experience. He said after collecting feedback over the past two years Ice Bumper Cars International has been in business, he’s worked to design a robust car that’s both easy to operate and maintain.
The most recent bumper car design includes a touch screen controller for the master operator and joysticks for the car drivers to have more control of their speeds on the ice, Luke explained.
The cars are backed with a 24-volt power system that propels two rubber wheels, and a large inner tube wraps around the control system where the driver sits to allow for safe bumping, a Base Village news release states.
Right now, the Farny’s ice bumper cars are in 18 locations across the United States. Luke said the first permanent home was in Steamboat Springs, but that Vail just bought a fleet of ice bumper cars, and Denver and Snowmass are both pop-up locations.
Moving forward, Luke said he and his dad hope to continue with the business model they’ve started, expand their long-term rental side of the company and hone in on their car design even further.
“We’d like to get our cars in as many locations as possible,” Luke said.
When asked if one of those locations may be Snowmass, both Farny and Blasberg said that a permanent fleet probably doesn’t make the most sense for the seasonal Base Village ice rink, but Blasberg did say a long-term rental agreement could be a possibility.
“It’s possible that we may pursue a longer term rental plan, but we’ll have to connect with the team and maintenance personnel to see how they feel,” Blasberg said.
Thursday is the last day the ice bumper cars will be available at the Base Village rink on a first-come, first-serve basis from noon to 5 p.m. The cars cost $20 per person for a 10-minute ride.
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“We’ve got all of these great things going on in (Base Village),” Andy Gunion, managing partner of East West Partners, said to council. “But it is not sustainable if we don’t get the rest of this village built and we’re not going to build it under a plan that makes no sense.”