Ice skating is likely to become a new attraction in Queenstown during the next summer school holidays.
The owners of the Queenstown Ice Arena last week installed a large dehumidification unit that should allow the rink to open in warmer months.
The Queenstown Gardens rink currently only opens from April till October.
Without the unit, condensation and moisture levels are too high, because of warm outside temperatures, to lay ice in the summer.
Rink co-owner Dan Graham explains the American-manufactured unit takes the moist air out of the arena, runs it through a dehumidifier and then pumps the dry air back into the building.
“For a small business it’s another big investment – it’s well over $100,000 – but it’s another positive step in the direction of keeping this facility up to par.”
Graham says he and his brother, co-owner Ted, want to see how the unit goes before committing to open this summer.
“Already we’ve noticed that the building’s dried out, so it’s certainly doing its job.”
Graham is confident that opening in the summer school holidays will be worthwhile but wants to talk to sporting clubs like ice skating and ice hockey to see if they require ice during the shoulder seasons.
“To a certain extent, being able to train all year round is a benefit but at the same time a lot of full-time athletes take a summer break as well.”
Graham says the new unit means their power bills will rise significantly, but on the other hand there’ll be less maintenance required: “Ted and I spend a lot of the summer months repairing the damage that moisture causes.”