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For the week of January 10 through January 16, 2001

Laying down the ice

Hailey Ice Park runs on volunteers and donations

Express Staff Writer

Hailey has an ice rink that parents can take their children to and kids can work on their skating skills seven days a week from morning light to 10 at night.

For free.

And while there are many professional people and businesses who contribute money and goods to support the rink, there would be no sheet of ice without the work of the Hailey Ice Park Committee and its volunteers.

In an article last February, Mountain Express sports editor Jeff Cordes revealed that these volunteers are the parents of young skaters.

"For nearly 20 years," he wrote, "laying down the ice has been a rite of passage for parents" in Hailey

Frank Alloway and Scott Heiner are in charge of maintaining the ice.

They’re parents.

Diane Heiner and Bege Reynolds are in charge of programs.

They’re parents.

Ron Fairfax is the president of the Hailey Ice Park Committee. He and his wife Pam are parents.

Diane Heiner joked that her job description was "everythinger," then she got serious and said the volunteers put in "a lot of work and dedication." She calls her fellow volunteers, "ice angels."

And they work on this "field of ice dreams," as they like to describe the park, for not only their own kids.

On Thursday, for example, three children from the Head Start program in Hailey showed up to skate and work on their hockey skills.

Clearly, Fairfax, Diane Heiner, Reynolds and Alloway were pleased to see local youth enjoying the fruits of their labors.

Alloway smiled and said, "Build it and they will come."

The park is free, he said, and people "age 3 to 63 are out here having a ball." It is open all day and night up to about 10 p.m. when volunteers pour a fresh sheet of water over the ice to freeze overnight.

He said committee members started working on the rink about five weeks ago and they are still in the process of "leveling" it.

The rink is still low in some places and skaters can feel dips, rises and bumps in the ice. Alloway and Scott Heiner pump water onto the rink at night to fill in these low spots and make the rink level.

This year the committee tried something new to help get to that level surface quicker. With a donation of $1,700 from Power Engineers, material from Steve Riggins Co. and volunteers, a sheet of plastic was laid down to form a waterproof base for the rink.

Alloway said, "We tried it as an experiment this year, and it has worked great to hold the water."

Fairfax estimates more than 300,000 gallons of water has been poured into the rink this winter. Alloway estimates the ice is 4 inches to 6 inches thick in the lowest spots.

That is a lot of water, but the rink, Fairfax said, is over 60,000 square feet, while a regulation National Hockey League rink is 17,000 square feet. Alloway figures it is about an acre and a half of ice.

Fairfax and Alloway are quick to recognize the city of Hailey and local residents for donating water and electricity to the park. Not only is the rink lighted up at night, but so are the trees around it.

Alloway, who owns Bigwood Electric, pointed up to a nearby power pole at the entrance to the park and said, "This is where I would like to build the shed for the Zamboni. On the other side of the entrance, I’d like to see a warming shed built."

The Zamboni, bought with a $2,500 donation from Power Engineers and the other half from donations, had been stored in Ken Ward’s garage on Silver Star Drive. Now, it is stored closer to the rink at the Cabinet Showcase Shop next to Sawtooth Auto.

At $5,000, the Zamboni did not come in mint condition. It was in need of springs (donated by Boise Spring Works and installed by Sawtooth Auto), new tires (donated by Elbie’s), a new battery (donated by Les Schwab) and new hoses and belts (donated by Don’s Auto Parts).

To make donations for the rink, call Fairfax at 788-0048 or Diane Heiner at 788-6474.



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