For those who live and work in and around New York City, it’s fairly common to retreat to the country on weekends to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. New Preston, Conn. has its fair share of weekend residents who live and work in the city during the week, but call the town home on the weekend. The Ingrassia Family, owners of Springhill Farm, a sprawling 330 acre estate, is one of the town’s weekend residents.
By week, the farm buzzes with activity surrounding a 275 acre hay operation and the maintenance of a 10 acre vineyard, but on the weekends, when the owners visit, recreation and relaxation are at the forefront. The property includes stables with 8 horses, a fitness facility, a vegetable garden, tennis courts and even an ice rink.
Just two years old, the ice rink on the property moved from concept to reality when the Ingrassia’s had glycol refrigeration lines run underneath the family’s outdoor tennis court and compressors installed to pump the glycol through the lines to maintain the temperature. This gave them the ability to play tennis in the spring, summer and fall, while providing their 3 sons with a place to play hockey throughout the winter months.
Once installed, maintaining the ice rink became one of facility manager Andrew Johnson’s key responsibilities. “The rink requires a considerable amount of work to keep the ice in peak condition,” states Johnson. “In order to make its management efficient, we needed to purchase equipment specifically dedicated to maintaining the ice.”
A tractor and pull behind ice resurfacer were ultimately selected as the best combination of products for the work at hand. However, finding a tractor that could support the hefty hydraulic requirements of the resurfacer proved challenging.
“Having 4 tractors on the farm already, none fit the bill required for the management of the ice, so we started doing our homework”, states Johnson. “It didn’t take long for us to figure out that most tractors on the market would require major modifications at a considerable cost to enable them to run the resurfacer. We then came across the Kioti CK20S HST at Campbell Services in Bridgewater, Connecticut.”
The Kioti CK20S HST, a 22 horsepower compact tractor, was selected due to its heavier-weight construction, combined with the lift capacity of its rear 3-point hitch and its ability to have the tractor’s hydraulics run the resurfacer. With the exception of adding some weight onto the front of the tractor to counterbalance the resurfacer, no modifications were required, making it both a productive and cost effective purchase. The tractor was delivered with studded and weighted turf tires for optimal traction when working on the ice.
To maintain the ice, Johnson fills the resurfacer with hot water, then drives across the ice, shaving and putting down water all at once for a smooth finish. As he progresses and the hopper fills, the tractor supports the lifting and dumping of resurfacer. “The two independent hydraulic pumps on the CK20S HST result in better all around hydraulic flow and pressure, leading to better lift performance,” states Johnson.
The Kioti CK20S HST has been in use for just over 18 months and is dedicated strictly to maintaining the ice rink. Outfitted with the resurfacer, the tractor is housed in a climate controlled building to prevent ice buildup in its reservoir.
According to Johnson, “Private ice rinks in our area though rare, are not completely uncommon.” We worked diligently with Campbell Services and Tom Martell, Kioti’s territory manager, to really explain our needs and find a way to maintain the rink in an efficient manner. “The original suggestions we received for maintaining the rink would have been far more costly and less productive. We’re thankful to have had the expertise of KIOTI Tractor and their local dealer to help us find the appropriate equipment to maintain the rink.”