Life December 16, 2019

Skate into Winter on Caldwell’s Ice Ribbon

The uncovering of Indian Creek has led to a vibrant community plaza

If you haven’t ventured west to Caldwell for a while, you are in for a pleasant surprise. The downtown area is bustling with new restaurants, a multi-screen movie theater, and Indian Creek Plaza, which is the heart of the city’s revitalization. A little more than 10 years ago, the city began to uncover Indian Creek, which runs through downtown, and free it from layers of concrete and ramshackle buildings that had kept it hidden for so long. Today, the emancipated creek is the cornerstone of downtown Caldwell’s renovation, and what Indian Creek Plaza has on offer is definitely worth the trip.

The Plaza is the site of a host of seasonal activities such as Tuesdays at the Creek music, Uncorked at Four wine tastings, Starlight Cinema series, Kids Yoga, Neighborhood Night Out, and Indian Creek Festival, to name a few. In the fall, there’s the Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival, and, in early November, crews begin to prepare the Plaza for the opening of the Ice Rink and Ice Ribbon.

“Indian Creek Plaza is the ‘front porch’ of our community!” said Krista Allcott, events manager for Destination Caldwell, which manages the Plaza. “Our focus is on community gathering, and it’s really exciting to see the momentum build around the Ice Ribbon.” The Ice Ribbon and Ice Rink, together, provide almost 9,500 square feet of skating surface. The Ice Ribbon, which is one of only seven in the United States, winds through the Plaza for one-tenth of a mile as it encircles the rink. The glow of fire pits and heaters warm the night air around the skating rink. “It’s a perfect date night,” enthused Allcott, “especially if you pair the skating with dinner or a movie. The skating sessions are a blast, absolutely magical!”

The Ice Rink and Ribbon opened Nov. 20—just in time for Winter Wonderland (which twinkles with thousands of lights), Skate with Santa days, and a Winter Solstice Market. The fun continues through Feb. 29, 2020, seven days a week.

To prepare the skating surface, crews lay down dasher boards, six-foot-wide sections of base that match the curves of the Ribbon and which get attached to the concrete underneath. Then glass walls and metal handrails are installed. Four miles of piping underneath the Ribbon cool the concrete, and water is sprayed across the concrete one layer at a time until the resulting ice is two feet thick. In between layers, the ice is painted white to prevent it from melting. It takes about three weeks to install the dasher boards and to create the ice.

The ice skating is so much fun and has proven to be so popular that, in order to maintain the quality of the experience for everyone, the number of skaters on the ice gets capped at 180. So, it’s a good idea to call ahead to the Skate Shoppe to check on the crowd conditions, especially if you want to skate on a weekend evening. The Skate Shoppe offers both figure and hockey skates for rent. Helmets are free. Safety comes first at the rink so neon-vested rink guards are available to assist and to ensure that skaters follow “Glidelines.”

Destination Caldwell volunteers, Indian Creek Plaza staff, and the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation have teamed up to form the SK8 Ribbon Coalition. The Coalition will offer kids from Canyon and Owyhee counties, between the ages of 12 and 16, free ice skating lessons during the months of January and February. The Coalition also works with teachers who think their class would benefit from skating lessons and underwrites the entire cost of the field trip.

Caldwell is like your kid sister with pigtails, braces, and baby fat who suddenly grows up to be a knockout. This charming town has blossomed, thanks to Indian Creek Plaza and the Ice Ribbon!

This article appears in the Winter 2019 Issue of Territory Magazine.