Bubble inches closer to the sale block

Scott N. Miller
September 11, 2004

VAIL - Vail's ice bubble isn't officially for sale, but if someone with a big check walked into Vail Town Hall, he could probably walk out with the keys, the title or whatever proof of ownership goes with a giant inflatable building.

The Vail Town Council Tuesday told Town Manager Stan Zemler to start investigating what the bubble is worth, and just who might want to buy the thing.

The bubble came down, apparently for good, when local ice users fell short in a last-ditch effort to generate demand, ice time contracts and deposit checks.

While the Vail Recreation District has drawn up a schedule to accommodate existing user groups at Dobson Ice Arena, council members said Tuesday there's still a need for a usable second ice sheet in town.

In the days before the bubble went up, the town flooded part of the golf course driving range and used it for recreational skating. While that sheet was handy, it didn't - and couldn't - function for any scheduled activities, Councilman Greg Moffet said.

The bottom line, Councilman Kent Logan said, is the town needs to make formal plans for a second sheet ice in town, whether it's an uncovered or covered facility.

Acknowledging the need for a second ice sheet, Councilwoman Diana Donovan told her colleagues that no matter the problems, the bubble does work.

"And it will be very expensive to replace," she said.


What it cost

Purchase price: $770,000

Set-up and tear-down costs: Between $120,000 and $190,000 per season over four seasons

Storage costs: About $10,000 per season