Instant Hot Water System for the Kotler Ice Arena – Awarded $4,000
The Community Foundation of Teton Valley was honored to award this grant to the Teton Valley Foundation to purchase a new hot water system for the Kotler Ice Arena’s Zamboni to ensure smooth, safe ice for the skating community. The Foundation strongly supports programs that further the safety and quality of recreational opportunities for both Teton Valley residents and visitors.
The Kotler Ice Arena is now an anchor of the winter recreation community in Teton Valley and reaches almost every demographic in its more than 1,400 weekly users. The programming is affordable, with scholarships available, allowing for any and all residents to participate. Beyond local users, the rink has grown to become an important economic stimulator most notably during hockey tournament weekends where teams boost the local economy through lodging, meals, travel, and entertainment. These stays have a tremendous impact on the Teton Valley community, which is so heavily dependent on tourism spending. These factors highlight the importance of and demand for the services provided at the Kotler Ice Arena. To meet these growing community needs, it is essential to better the user experience and keep it as safe as possible for all. Users have given vital feedback and expressed concern to the Teton Valley Foundation staff that ice quality issues are noticeable and can cause serious injuries if not addressed. As this organization continues to serve a broader user base of both visitors, residents, and tournament attendees, the need for higher quality facilities maintenance also grows. A new instant hot water for the Zamboni would allow the arena to provide safe, quality ice conditions.
Before and after each program, during games, and as often as 10 times/day, the Zamboni heads out onto the ice to scrape and resurface the top layer, removing excess ice, snow, even dirt and debris. In the same motion, the Zamboni cleans the ice by releasing hot water that fills grooves, cuts, and any remaining irregularities. The hotter the water is, the safer and more pristine the surface becomes. A typical hot water system is recommended to be between 140 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal resurfacing and the Zamboni holds 150 gallons of water in its reservoir. Unfortunately, the Kotler Ice Arena’s current hot water system is dated and incapable of producing water hot enough for these needs. Due to particularly cold winters and the age of the current system, the water does not reach the appropriate temperatures essential to melting the ice efficiently, leaving room for grooves to remain or surfaces to have defects. The grant to purchase a new system will solve this problem and create a better surface, free of dangerous irregularities that might trip up and injure a skater.
The new system in conjunction with the purchase of a new Zamboni for winter 2021/2022, will greatly increase the quality and safety of ice for all users. Because this is an operational behind-the-scenes project, the direct community need is measurable in feedback, reduced risk, and improved quality noticed and experienced by rink users. It will also be quantifiable by our rink manager and staff who run the Zamboni and are in charge of maintaining the ice. While it might not be the most visible improvement, there is no doubt the users, staff, rink coaches, and participants will greatly appreciate the attention to both quality and safety, which Teton Valley Foundation takes very seriously.
The Community Foundation commends the important work of the Teton Valley Foundation and supports the purchase of the new hot water system for the Kotler Ice Arena to improve the quality and safety of the skating community’s experience.