Uncategorized May 12, 2023

On Ice: Sun Valley revamping indoor & outdoor ice rinks after refrigeration failure

The well-known Sun Valley ice rink has welcomed skaters of all abilities for decades. It first opened in 1936 with the rest of the resort. It has appeared in movies, hosted the world’s most famous figure skaters and is a place many Idahoans have taken a lap (or a tumble).

But this winter, the ice is gone – both on the outdoor rink, as well as the indoor rink next door where the Sun Valley Suns usually play.  No triple axels. No sow cows. No nervous kids learning to skate. But, the rinks will return.

Cooling down

“We are replacing the entire mechanical refrigeration system that services both rinks as well as the floors beneath each ice surface,” Scott Irvine, Ice Operations Manager for Sun Valley Resort, said. “The scope of the project is extensive and we’re thrilled to have it underway.”

The resort closed the rinks in September, according to the Idaho Mountain Express, which forced the cancellation of the final planned outdoor ice show of the summer season. But the paper said the upgrade was already planned to start the next month. The rink reopened for a time in January when the outdoor temperatures were cool.

The work, as viewed late last month by BoiseDev, appeared extensive – with the concrete surface of the outdoor rink entirely removed and work crews preparing the surface for new equipment.

Irvine said the refrigeration and piping system for the outdoor rink date to 1956. The indoor rink opened in 1975. The upgrades should make the year-round outdoor rink, as well as its indoor sister, more energy efficient.

“Modern refrigeration systems are much more energy efficient and reliable than their predecessors,” Irvine said. “Our new system is also capable of providing more refrigeration capacity, which will help us maintain more consistent ice in the warmer months.”