Equipment Malfunction Causes Delay in ‘Biggest Show on Snow’ at Raley Field

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What was billed as the “Biggest Show on Snow” had a meltdown after a unit that creates ice on an Olympic-sized ice rink at Raley Field broke down on Sunday.

The websites for the six-week event and the Sacramento Rivercats are telling people the facility will reopen on Friday at noon.

The first-time effort at the facility that is normally dormant during the winter months is down but not out. It is scheduled to remain open until Jan. 3, which allows for plenty of time to recoup any business lost during the first part of Thanksgiving week when kids are off from school.

Charlie Goodrich and his two daughters got the word when they went to buy tickets at Raley Field on Monday before the websites were updated.

“They said it was closed, but they gave me five free tickets … it’s worth about a hundred bucks,” said Goodrich.

He said he and his family will definitely be back.

At first it was thought that repairs could be made and the venue could be opened by Tuesday. But it was later determined that the malfunctioning chiller unit, one of three portable units that make ice, has to be replaced.

Robert Barsanti with the Rivercats media relations says they are trying to get the word out that the Biggest Show on Snow will resume on Friday.

Their hope is that the ice-covered base of the rink will survive warm overnight temperatures, which will make it easier for the water now on the surface of the rink to be frozen more quickly. The snow slide will also be ready to go.

In the meantime, crews used the down time to build a viewing area closer to the rink and expand a VIP area that will be used for the professional ice hockey game that is scheduled in mid-December.

Despite the mishap, promoters are encouraged by the reception from people who attended the first days of the amusement venue.

“Our soft opening and our grand opening on Saturday went pretty well, so it’s looking pretty good, and we’re excited to see where it goes,” Barsanti said.

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