Zamboni falls through Keystone ice |

Zamboni falls through Keystone ice

Julie Sutor
Summit County Correspondent
Special to the Daily/Andrew PetersThin ice gave way and gave a zamboni a dunking at Keystone Lake Wednesday.

KEYSTONE – A Zamboni slipped through the cracks at the Keystone Lake Tuesday night.

Crews were smoothing the surface of the popular skating spot around 6 p.m., when the machine fell part-way through the ice. Workers successfully extricated the Zamboni from the lake the same night and closed the ice to skating.

No one was injured during the incident, and the Zamboni “fired right back up” once it was retrieved, according to Keystone spokesperson Ryan Whaley.

Skating is now done for the season, since temperatures will likely be too warm by the time the hole in the ice is repaired. The ice is still thick enough for workers to safely remove the hockey rink equipment and Christmas tree located on the lake.

The Zamboni was invented by Utah-native Frank Zamboni in 1949. The entrepreneur and inventor first developed his expertise with ice in the 1920s and 1930s, when he and his brother built and operated a block-ice plant in Southern California. The brothers supplied produce wholesalers who used the ice to keep their products cool during rail shipment.

In 1939, the Zamboni brothers and their cousin built Iceland Skating Rink in Paramount, Calif., where Zamboni began experimenting with techniques for smoothing the rink surface. After tinkering for several years with snow tanks, water tanks, war-surplus truck parts, a Jeep engine, squeegees and ice-shaving blades, Zamboni came up with the winning design in 1949. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Zamboni a patent in 1953.

According to the Zamboni company, Frank Zamboni developed several other machines in addition to the ice re-surfacer. His other inventions include the “Grasshopper,” a machine to roll up artificial turf, the “Black Widow,” used to fill in dirt on top of cemetery vaults, and the “Astro Zamboni,” designed for Monsanto Chemical Company to vacuum water from their Astro-turf product, and the “Vault Carrier,” created to lift and carry heavy, cement burial vaults.

Zamboni died in 1988. His company still manufactures ice-resurfacing machines in its Paramount factory.

Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-4630 or

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