The Secret to Great Ice

The ice at the Propst Arena in the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, AL

The Secret to Great Ice


There’s more to great ice than freezing floodwater. But the real secret to great ice?

That’s always the human touch. At the Propst Arena in Huntsville, AL, that human touch includes the snowball test.

A good ice technician pays attention to all the details, like conductor of an orchestra, and knows how each has an impact on the ice. That includes knowing how thick/thin the ice is – and where, how fast the water freezes, the sharpness of the blade, how clean the spreader towel is…and that’s just the start.

When an arena puts in REALice, the ice technicians see a difference right away. The floodwater freezes so much faster, requiring a higher brine reset or the floodwater will freeze too quickly. If it’s producing too much snow, that’s another sign the ice is still too cold. With REALice, colder floodwater and warmer ice temperatures are the norm, because that’s what the ice demands. And those two ingredients make for great ice that also happens to make a big dent in operational costs.

Von Braun Center’s Propst Arena

Entrance to the Propst Arena in Huntsville’s Von Braun Center

The 7,000-seat Propst Arena is located within the Von Braun Center – Huntsville’s premier multi-purpose facility. Since switching to REALice, the ice there is typically running at 25°F, dropped down to between 21-23°F for game nights. The Huntsville Havoc, an SPHL team, calls the Propst Arena home.

Travis Sims, the facility’s ice professional, says by keeping the ice around 4°F warmer than when they did hot water floods, means much less runtime on the compressors. How much? They’re down to 6 hours a day, from 14 – a tremendous savings in electricity. One of the ways the ice technicians make sure the ice is not too cold and not too warm is by conducting a dry shave strip and then seeing if they can make a good snowball out of it.

“During the week, without the time pressure of a game, 25°F is the right temperature from the snowball test.,” Sims explains.


With the lower utility spend that REALice brings, incentives may be available to lower your simple payback. If you’d like to know more about that, or how you can put REALice into your arena, contact us.

Great Ice – and Great Financing, Too

And if cash flow is an issue, or you’d prefer to use someone else’s money, that’s no problem! We work closely with the National Energy Improvement Fund’s Commercial Energy Finance Division for equipment financing. NEIF, a certified B Corp®, can finance up to 100% of costs for improvements that make businesses resilient, energy efficient, healthy, and comfortable – like REALice. Stay liquid, and benefit in many cases from financing, rebates and tax savings. Send us an email and we’ll send you a 1-page brochure from NEIF – as well as the information we need to put a rink savings profile together for your rink.

Make great ice, save money, and get great financing too. With REALice. And if you’d like to know more about the snowball test, click here.

Savings Calculator