SPOKANE, Wash. -It’s that time of year again. Time to lace-up old skates and hit the ice.
But if you've been around Spokane for a while, this year is going to look a lot different: The Ice Ribbon in Riverfront Park is just five days away from opening.
“I think that people are going to get a totally new experience skating here than they have at other rinks around the area,” said Kevin Sharrai, Riverfront Park Maintenance Manager. “I think it's the first time for everybody in the City of Spokane to do something like this.”
Sharrai says while staff has spent the last year getting the Ice Ribbon ready for skaters, the biggest challenges are still to come.
“We don't control the climate,” said Sharrai. Rain sleet, snow, those are the biggest challenges we face being inside compared to outside.”
Sharrai says underneath the layers of ice and concrete base of the ribbon is 14 miles of pipe flowing with refrigerant to help keep the surface at a cool 17-degrees.
“And it just maintains that temperature regardless of what's going on outside,” said Sharrai.
Clearing the ice of leaves, snow and rainwater will present new challenges never faced at the Ice Palace. But Sharrai says staff are prepared to maintain a smooth surface for skaters throughout the winter.