The Whitefish Community Foundation awarded a $30,000 grant to the Stumptown Ice Den on Oct. 10, surprising rink management during the Great Fish Challenge awards presentation.
The grant will help the year-round ice rink purchase an electric ice resurfacer, or Zamboni, to replace the rink’s existing and aging propane-fueled resurfacer. The nonprofit Whitefish Sports Facilities Foundation took over operations at the Ice Den in 2015 and participated in this year’s Great Fish Challenge, picking up more than $66,000 in public donations. The total cost of purchasing the new resurfacer, along with a charging station and training, is expected to be $129,000.
“Over the past four years, the Stumptown Ice Den has invested in energy saving technologies and practices that have cut our overall utilities expenses in half,” Greg Harms, the rink’s general manager, wrote in a press release announcing the grant. “With zero emissions and an operating cost 95 percent less than our current propane-powered machine, the new electric ice resurfacer will continue that trend and help keep the rink affordable for the community.”
The Stumptown Ice Den opened in 2003 and hosts youth and adult hockey teams, figure skating programs, and public open-ice sessions. It is one of the only rinks in Montana that operates year-round.