Glacier Ice Rink sees more skaters, rising utility bills with warm temperatures


MISSOULA – Glacier Ice Rink operations are back in full force for the holidays after a season of social distancing and capacity limits due to COVID-19.

“We are in the midst of our busy season,” Glacier Ice Rink executive director Laura Henning told MTN News.

This marks the last week of youth and adult hockey programs before a break.

“Our youth program is actually the busiest it has ever been. We have almost 600 children participating this year, ”said Henning.

Saturday will kick off two weeks of public skating. Pre-registration for sessions – which will be capped at 150 people – is mandatory this year.

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The Pineview Park ice rink remains closed in Missoula.

“What we learned last year with COVID is that people actually liked having fewer people on the ice and so this year we are maintaining our capacity limits on public skating programs,” said Henning.

Traditional winter activity has changed this season as warm temperatures prevented ice formation in the outdoor parks. “It’s definitely weather related to operate some of these rinks, and it gets more and more difficult every year, it seems,” Henning said.

While this doesn’t necessarily interfere with the ice-cold infrastructure of the nonprofit, the refrigeration system used has to work a lot harder.

The outdoor rink operates from October to March using an ammonia-based system that draws heat, similar to your home refrigerator that keeps those veggies cool year-round.

Ice rink

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November – which was the fourth warmest since records began to be kept in Missoula – brought temperatures into the 1950s and 1960s. The utility bill for Glacier Ice Rink rose to $ 13,000 that month. . It is usually between $ 9,000 and $ 10,000 on a winter bill.

“We know it’s going to be expensive. But aside from personnel costs, utility bills are arguably the highest cost we have operationally. We’re a non-profit so that always plays a role, but that’s why we do fundraisers or ask people for donations, it’s to help offset a lot of those operational costs, ”he said. Henning explained.

Glacier Ice Rink kicks off its holiday skating this Saturday with Skate with Santa at 12:30 pm and an Ugly Sweater Skate at 5:30 pm Pre-registration is required.

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