Steamboat ice arena looks for bump from cars | SteamboatToday.com
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Steamboat ice arena looks for bump from cars

Customers come out to try new attraction in Steamboat

Bumper cars pack the ice at Howelsen Ice Arena earlier this spring as users test out the arena’s new set of 10 bumper cars. The cars are available to rent at the arena and have proven popular so far.
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Bumper cars pack the ice at Howelsen Ice Arena earlier this spring as users test out the arena’s new set of 10 bumper cars. The cars are available to rent at the arena and have proven popular so far.

— How enthusiastic has the early response been to the new on-ice bumper cars now available at Howelsen Ice Arena? It’s been enough to leave arena Director Mike Albrecht poring over the planned spring and summer schedule, rearranging dates he had planned to close the facility.

“They love it,” he said about the first customers. “Riders anywhere from kids to adults, when they’re coming off the ice, they’re saying it’s the greatest thing.”

Bumper cars have been in the back of Albrecht’s mind for a long time, he said. Although a crowded hockey and figuring skating schedule can make ice time a treasured commodity throughout winter, there’s plenty of time to go around in the spring and summer, and the cars seemed like a fine way to fill it.



The cost for a new set of cars kept that a far-off idea for a long time, however. New sets of cars he priced cost $60,000, so when he stumbled across a set of lightly used cars for sale from an Idaho rink for $12,000, including shipping, he jumped at the opportunity.

The ice arena welcomed 10 cars earlier in the spring, and after several weeks of testing them and designing a pay structure, the cars were deployed for customers this month. They’ve already been a hit at several birthday parties and several more are booked in the coming weeks.



They also have been available at recent public skating sessions.

The cars all have small golf cart style motors and are best restrained to one corner of the arena, Albrecht said.

“If you give them too much space, they won’t bump enough,” he said.

They each have four wheels with tiny cleats, similar to the tires on a Zamboni. Because it takes a little extra resurfacing, organizers try to keep the bumper cars scheduled toward the end of the day.

A number of rental packages currently are available. A 15- or 20-minute spin can be had for $10 during public skating sessions — users can add in an hour of skating for an extra $6. A birthday package with an hour of skating and skates and 30 minutes of bumper cars runs $250 for as many as 15 children. An hour with the cars — or anything else the arena offers, for that matter — can be had for $350.

For more information about rates and schedules, call the city’s Parks, Open Space and Recreational Service Department at 970-879-4300.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com


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