Loudoun’s figure skaters and hockey players have been off the ice for more than two months. When they finally are allowed back into the Ashburn Ice House, they’ll be greeted by a new sheet of ice and sharp skates to dig in, among other massive upgrades.
The Ashburn Ice House closed its doors on March 13, the day after Gov. Ralph Northam declared a State of Emergency amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Between then and last Friday, when the pro shop and outdoor skating rink opened back up to the public, General Manager Rob Lorenzen and his team took full advantage of the 11-week closure—by shifting their focus from small renovations scheduled during Loudoun County’s spring break to nine large-scale projects originally scheduled for completion by the end of 2021.
“We moved quickly to initiate those projects,” Lorenzen said.
Ice House staff members and contractors repainted and re-iced the west rink, refurbished all eight locker rooms, replaced carpeting, replaced stair treads, reconditioned the rubber floor, cleaned and repaired the player benches, upgraded the fitness center, refurbished the restaurant and sharpened all 780 pairs of ice skates.
The most notable of those projects was work on the west rink, where the staff repainted the surface under the ice—a project Lorenzen said typically takes seven days to complete and displaces “a ton of business.” Typically, the Ice House is closed for only three hours a day, between 2 and 5 a.m., 362 days a year.
That repainting required staff to strip the ice off the rink, repaint the logos and lines and re-ice the surface. But not all 1.5 inches of ice has been added back on top, Lorenzen said. That’s because keeping only a quarter-inch of ice on for the time being keeps cooling costs to a minimum. Lorenzen said the Ice House spent only $8,000 on its April electric bill, compared with the typical $13,000 to $15,000 it typically spends each month.
Once the Ice House is ready to bring skaters back in, Lorenzen said it would take only two days to top the final inch of ice.
In the locker rooms, new rubber flooring was installed and the walls were repainted, with two locker rooms painted specifically for the Ashburn Xtreme Hockey Club.
The staff upgraded the fitness center by installing two new treadmills and three new multi-purpose squat racks. The Pomodoro Pizza, Pasta & More restaurant attached to the Ice House was also refurbished, with four, 50-inch television screens with new menu boards installed. That restaurant has been open for carryout orders since late April.
The Ice House staff also took the time to sharpen all 780 pairs of rental skates.
Lorenzen didn’t say how much those nine projects cost but did note they were planned and budgeted for. He said his 93 full-time and part-time employee staff—none of whom he had to lay off during the crisis—plans to continue deep cleaning the entire Ice House for the foreseeable future.
Although the rinks have yet to reopen, the Ice House is offering outdoor fitness classes and hockey skills training in the outdoor rink it sets up each summer in the parking lot. The pro shop is also open by appointment only.
Lorenzen said the Ice House will provide activities for close to 120 participants this week and that nine of 12 hockey instruction classes have been sold out.
“It was generally fun, exciting and uplifting to be back doing something,” he said about reopening last Friday.