We’ve been frustrated over the past several days. Each day we came in and fo
und too much air in the ice mat tubes. Each day crews of 5 or more volunteers struggled to coax the air out of the system. They pressed, lifted, jiggled and squeezed air bubbles out of the system. Jim replaced a bleeder valve with a reroute tube through the expansion tank to take out still more air. It was slow, difficult, and tedious.
They kept at it because they could see they see things progressing. The expansion tank captured several gallons of air today. At the end of Saturday the team felt that enough air had been eliminated to finally start the chiller today, Sunday.
Today, the team started the dehumidifer, started the chiller and began the long process of bringing the temperature of the rink floor down to playing conditions. Soon they could see the remaining air bubbles flowing smoothly to the return header. Next, they unfolded and smoothed the top rink liner. This liner hides the Gatorade-yellow color of the glycol and forms the primary containment barrier for…
Water! Lovely, clean, pure, Oregon tap water flowed into the rink for the rest of the afternoon. The frenzied curlers went wild, yelling, cheering, and loving every minute of it. Then the reality set in, it takes a long time for ice to freeze, and watching ice freeze is somewhere on the excitement scale between watching paint dry and watching grass grow. So we wait.
Over the next few days we will flood additional thin layers of ice, put down curling markings, finish minor jobs, clean up the warm room and get things ready for our opening. As long as the water keeps freezing we will be ready to curl within the next week or two.