Mother Nature has seemingly made up for a dry 2011 with rain in 2012, but Napa on Ice organizers are hopeful that the good weekend weather will continue through the rink’s last weeks of operation.
Though forecasts predicted rain for Friday and Saturday in Napa, the city was dry over the weekend, bringing a needed blessing to downtown’s outdoor ice rink. In 2011, the rink did not lose a single full day of operation to rain, but has had to close for 10 to 12 full days this year due to inclement weather, said rink founder Peter Mott.
“It’s been quite a few days of rain,” Mott said.
The rink was last closed on Christmas Day, when it otherwise would have been open, due to nearly nonstop rain, Mott said. The National Weather Service and other weather outlets had forecasted rain for Wednesday, Friday and Saturday of this past week, but the skies remained dry and Napa on Ice remained open.
Mott said while the rink did budget in some “rain days,” much of the bad weather has come on what would have been the busiest days for Napa on Ice.
“It’s one thing if it’s a Tuesday or Wednesday when the kids are in school, but a lot of our rain days have hit on holidays and weekends,” Mott said.
In the 2011-12 season, Napa on Ice’s first, the rink’s opening was only delayed for a few hours on its first day because of rain, Mott said. This year, the rink opened on Nov. 16, a day later than expected, because of rain.
The rink’s costs are slightly up this year from what they should be because wooden sheds were built to house the rink’s admissions operations and skate rental facilities, Mott said. The sheds, which replaced tents that were used last year, can be used year-to-year and proved useful with all the rain this year.
“If we’d have had the tents we had last year, it would have been so uncomfortable for our staff,” Mott said.
Additionally, the wooden structures kept rain out of the temporary offices and rental areas, where water tends to pool, Mott said.
The coming week should be mostly dry, with a slight chance of rain on Thursday, the National Weather Service forecasts. Mott said that’s good news for Napa on Ice, so long as skaters come out.
“We expect today to be a really big day,” Mott said Sunday morning. “If people show up the next couple of weeks, we should have no problem breaking even.”
Mott said this year’s weather should not impact next year’s rink.
“We still plan to bring it back every year,” Mott said.
The rink has seen an average of 300 to 400 skaters on the days it has been open, Mott said. He expects the numbers to stay strong this week, as Napa schools remain on holiday break. The rink’s last scheduled day of operation is Sunday, Jan. 13.