Nottingham Lake ice rink now open | VailDaily.com

Nottingham Lake ice rink now open

Daily Staff Report

The winter season on Nottingham Lake has begun for the 2004 season.

With ice thickness of more than six inches, the Nottingham Lake Ice Rink officially opened Dec. 13.

The lake’s 2.4 acres of maintained ice – the size of more than two football fields – are divided into three sections based on use. There is a designated area for public skating, a broomball court and the Valley’s only speed skating track spanning 650 meters.

The lake is free to skate on and is open every day at noon, weather permitting. The speed track is open those hours as well, and a speed skating club will start in January. The neighboring Avon log cabin has figure and hockey skate rentals, as well as concessions. It is open daily from noon to 8 p.m.

Broomball begins Jan. 8. The coed league allows teams to test their skills at the lake, and registration must be received prior to the organization meeting at 5:15 p.m., Jan. 6, at the Log Cabin.

Ice fishing is allowed on the lake but a valid Colorado fishing license is required.

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The ice, which is currently about 10 inches thick, is maintained by the Avon Public Works Department.

But the heart of the maintenance is done by parks crew members, who balance the ice with truck weights and monitor air temperatures, snow coverage and ice depth. Left to its own devices, the ice will grow up to an inch a night in single-digit temperatures.

A frozen lake, however, is one of the only local outdoor recreation venues that actually thrives when it does not snow. The fallen snow acts as an insulator, and if left on the ice surface can melt the top layer and reduce ice quality and thickness.

After a storm, the snow is removed as quickly as possible to maintain the quality of ice in all the skating areas.

But the difference between clearing the ice with a shovel and using a pick-up with a plow is days of manpower. If early-season conditions exist on the ice – four to six inches – fully clearing a snowfall can take three to four days. The ice thickness sets a weight limitation, which doesn’t always allow the use of heavy vehicles for snow removal. As the season and the ice progresses, clearing the snow gets faster and easier.

Clear, sweep and smooth

To prepare the Nottingham Lake Ice Rink’s surface for skaters, the ice is cleared of snow, swept and conditioned. Ice thickness is the determining factor in each of these steps, and it controls what vehicles can be used, how quickly the ice can be cleared and how smooth its surface can be for use.

Various degrees of thickness will support the following:

– Two inches will support one person.

– Four inches will support a group of people walking and hand-shoveling snow.

– Five inches will support a person using a snow blower.

– Six inches will support a gator with snowplow.

– 12 inches will support a pick-up with plow.

– 14 inches will support a John Deer tractor with Zamboni.