Christmas weekend is one of the most popular for ice skaters in the Historic Folsom District and thanks to a small army of hard working people coming together, that tradition was be able to continue Sunday. After working around the clock, repairs were completed on Folsom’s iconic rink, just in time to re-open to sold out crowds Christmas Eve.
Gates were expected to open time for ticket holders by the 10:00 a.m. session Sunday. As of Sunday morning, sessions were sold out for the day. Night time sessions still had a limited number of tickets at available and ice rick operators are urging everyone to visit their website at www.folsomicerink.com to check availability and purchase tickets as it expected the evening sessions will sell out quickly.
It was Thursday night that crews went to work on the issue that forced a two-day closure of the rink. What was expected to be an overnight repair resulted in a far more serious issue that required the fabrication of custom parts and a whole lot of physical labor to install them and get the system up and running again.
Historic Folsom Station’s Jerry Bernau and members of the Folsom Historic District Association (FHDA) Board of Directors made a series of decisions and calls to pull together a team of professionals who worked a great deal of overtime to complete the complex and costly repairs.
Historic Folsom’s ice rink is unique in the fact it is a circular or “donut,” shaped facility that surrounds the railroad turntable in the plaza. While the rink is assembled on top of the existing landscape of the plaza, there is a great deal of permanent infrastructure that was previously installed underground, stretching from within the center of the turntable and out to the mechanical components of the operation, not only beneath the ground but the ice as well. It was fittings on that underground pipeline that delivers Glycol from the chiller to below the ice that began to fail, causing a leak.
“We are very grateful for the round the clock work to get this complex issue resolved,” said FHDA Executive Director Judy Collinsworth, who expects a busy day Sunday and reminds everyone to check ticket availability online. “We are thrilled to announce that we are reopening to sold out session until 6 p.m. tonight. We have also added three sessions on Christmas Day. In order to guarantee session availability please purchase tickets online at www.folsomicerink.com.”
One of the companies involved in the process was United Rentals, who handles the set up and installation of the rink’s chiller system. According to Collinsworth, the United team, led by Kelly Reiger, were critical to the success of the repairs that involved the installation of the new custom made 100’ glycol lines that we’re installed within the existing ones, with a number of twists and turns along the way.
The United Rentals team was joined by Bernau, along with a trio of employees from local concrete contractor A.K. Enterprises, Victor Lopez-Gutierrez from Special Ice which operates the rink for the FHDA. FHDA President Jim Snook joined the effort on a weekend that is one of the busiest for his family owned Snook’s Chocolate Factory.
According to Bernau, the new lines were fully installed and ready for action late Saturday afternoon. The system was refilled and recharged and the chiller was restarted to run overnight to create new ice that was set to be “skate ready,” late Sunday morning.
“The FHDA and the community really came together on this to make sure Folsom has an ice rink for the holiday,” said Bernau. “This is the work these companies do and they are very good at it, but considering its Christmas weekend and they worked so many hours to get it done is something we are really grateful for.”
As Collinsworth mentioned, Sunday’s daytime sessions are sold out with limited tickets available online for the evening sessions. The FHDA has added sessions on Christmas Day at 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Visit www.folsomicerink.com to purchase tickets.