Zamboni gives Hailey Ice Park a new surface
Power Engineers helps with donation
By JEFF CORDES
Express Staff Writer
For nearly 20 years, laying down the ice has been a rite of passage for
parents of youngsters in Hailey.
After a full day of work they pull on their best cold-weather clothes,
grab some warm gloves and head out in the late evening hours.
Its usually freezing cold.
And its about to get colder.
They collect the fire hoses, which in recent years have been stored in
that most reliable of storing placesPower Engineers south of Hailey.
In the mid-1980s, the parents started laying the ice at Lawrence Heagle
Park in Della View Subdivision. One year, they made an ice rink inside Hailey Rodeo Arena.
For most of the last 15 years, however, the location has been Roberta
McKercher Park in Hailey.
They unroll the fire hoses at McKercher Park, laughing the laughs of
volunteers doing good work.
While most other Hailey residents are enjoying the evening news or their
favorite television show, the parents start firing out streams of water.
This winter, back in mid-December, one volunteer said they put down over
300,000 gallons of water on McKercher Park to form the base of the ice rink that is used
At the beginning it was five hours a night, for 10 nightstwo fire
hoses and freezing cold volunteers putting down the ice. "One time I couldnt
get into my car afterward because my gloves were frozen solid," one said.
They end up fully iced, head to toe.
Whats the reason for all the suffering and the hard work?
Well, if youve ever seen your son or daughter or their friends
enjoying the ice afterward, you know why.
Ice hockey. Figure skating.
Old-fashioned winter fun.
"Were excited about all the use the facility is getting this
year," said James Foster, a Wood River High School teacher and member of the Hailey
Ice Park committee.
Hailey Ice Park Committee?
Thats a pretty official name for the group of snow-covered,
frozen-faced Michelin men that for years has gratefully crawled back into warm beds after
their chores were done.
But there is a Hailey Ice Park Committee, very enthusiastic and active,
and theyve done something that all the parents, during all the bygone years, have
only dreamed of.
They bought a Zamboni.
An ice resurfacing machine.
And they bought it the old-fashioned way.
Over the Internet.
Hailey Ice Park Committee member Frank Alloway said, "Originally I
started doing research on the Internet and by making phone calls.
"I found someone, I think his name was Marv, at an equipment company
in Cochran, Alberta, Canada, about 20 miles west of Calgary.
"I told him, hey, were just a bunch of dummies down here, but
were looking for a Zamboni. What would you suggest?"
To make a long story short:
They settled on a price of $5,000 for a used Zamboni. Of that amount,
$2,500 was donated by Power Engineers, which has always been the silent partner behind all
the nocturnal ice making expeditions made by Hailey parents.
Marv gladly agreed to drive the Zamboni, by himself, down from Alberta
through Montana to Idahogetting all sorts of interested glances along the way from
people wondering what the heck he was towing.
He showed up in Hailey over the weekend of Jan. 15-16and a new and
hopefully simpler era of Hailey ice resurfacing began.
Instead of parents coming to the park a couple of nights a week and
spending three hours laying down two layers of ice, they could use the Zamboni to
accomplish the same purpose.
Two nights later, Scott Heiner and Ken Ward gave the machine a paint job
to erase all the Canadian lettering and substitute "Hailey Ice Park."
They stored the Zamboni in Ken Wards garage on Silver Star Drive, a
short drive from McKercher Park.
Two days after that, on Jan. 20, Heiner, most of the Hailey Ice Park
Committee and Mayor Brad Siemer gathered at McKercher Park to show off their purchase and
pose for the photos accompanying this article.
"There used to be two Zambonis in the state of Idaho. Now
theres nine," said committee member Ron Reynoso. "And the kids can come
out and skate themselves to death.
"A lot of it is hockey dads, getting together and recognizing the
need for ice so that the kids can practice."
But its not just hockey.
As committee member Diane Heiner said, Hailey Ice Park gives the town a
"decent sheet of ice" on which parents can skate with young children during the
weekdays and weekends.
"Its nice to accommodate everyonegirls and boys and
recreational programs," Diane Heiner said.
There are sections reserved for ice hockey and sections reserved for
figure skating and sections reserved for just playing around.
Mostly, users respect the dividing lines and appreciate the fact that they
dont have to travel to Sun Valley Skating Center and pay a fee.
In addition, Bege Reynolds has started a supervised skating program for
some 27 elementary-school aged girls, meeting Fridays from 3-5 p.m.
Having made a big jump forward with the purchase of the Zamboni, the
Hailey Ice Park Committee which also includes Jim Santa, Tom Hanson and Ron Fairfax has
Theyd like to add a warming hut at the site and possibly add some
limited lighting. Theyd like to get a more permanent garage for the Zamboni so they
wouldnt have to rely on Ken Wards generosity.
"Were trying to find out what is appropriate and what
isnt," said Foster.
Certainly the Hailey Ice Park Committee proves that necessity is the
mother of invention.
And thats the way Frank J. Zamboni (1901-1988) discovered the ice
resurfacing machine in the first place.
Zamboni moved to southern California in 1922 with his brother Lawrence to
join their older brother George in his auto repair business.
The two younger Zambonis eventually decided to open an electrical repair
service business catering to the local dairy industry. They built and installed large
refrigerator units that dairies used to keep their milk cool.
Making block ice for wholesalers who needed to transport their goods
became their specialty. But, as refrigeration technology improved, the demand for block
ice began to shrink.
Frank and Lawrence started looking for other ways to capitalize on their
expertise with ice. Their opportunity came in the sport of ice skating.
In 1939, Frank, Lawrence and a cousin built the Iceland Skating Rink in
Paramount, Ca. It opened in 1940 as one of the largest ice rinks in the countryfirst
an open-air facility, then with a domed roof.
The challenge now was to maintain the much-improved indoor surface, so
Frank started engineering a machine that would make the task of ice resurfacing fast and
He arrived at a machine that would shave the ice, remove the shavings,
wash and squeegee the ice, and hold snow in an elevated tank large enough to last for an
entire resurfacing job. By 1949 the "Model A Zamboni Ice Resurfacer" was born.
In 1950, Olympic skating star Sonja Henie and her traveling ice show was
practicing at Paramount Iceland when she saw the Model A in action. She asked Frank if he
could build one in time for one of her performances in Chicago, Ill.
Orders started rolling in and the Frank J. Zamboni Co. was founded.
The machine purchased by the Hailey Ice Park Committee is a version of the
Model HD Series (1964), which was the first production dumper not built on a Jeep chassis.
It had a new vertical auger system to convey the snow and a quick-dumping
snow tank. The revolutionary aspects of the HD remain the standard of the industry even
Although half of the cost of the Zamboni came from Power Engineers, the
other half came from private donations and out of the pockets of many of the committee
They are soliciting donations to help the cause.
Tax deductible donations can be made to Hailey Ice Park, P.O. Box 3150,
Hailey, Id. 83333.