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'Snow' for village comes in from Indio
What does it take to build a slide made of snow at the Centennial Christmas Village and maintain it for a week? One hundred and sixty tons of ice.
The ice is hauled to Yuma from an ice plant in Indio, California by the CV Ice Company. The ice comes in 300 pound blocks which are placed into semi-truck trailers capable of transporting 20 tons each.
“It is a lot of ice,” said Victoria Shatavy, an employee with CV Ice Company.
After the trailers arrive at the village, a group of employees with the CV Ice Company gets to work turning the giant ice blocks into fluffy “snow.”
“Basically we take the ice and put it into a crusher and it pulverizes the ice into the snow,” Shatavy explained.
The ice is then blown on top of a foundation of hay bails until it forms a ramp.
“Once we have done that we go up and sculpt out the rows,” Shatavy said. “We shovel them all out and make runs for the slide.”
On Saturday, the crew built one large slide with the three separate rows, and one smaller slide designed to be used by younger children. The slides will be maintained for the next seven days for the enjoyment of Yuma's youth.
“We are going to come out here every day and blow another 20 tons,” Shatavy said. “You have to refresh it. As the kids slide on it, it is going to deteriorate.”
The crew will have to bring even more ice if it continues to rain in the coming days.
“Rain will absolutely affect it,” Shatavy said, noting if it rains again it will melt the ramps. “It is not going to be pretty.”
Despite all the labor to build and maintain the snow slides, Shatavy and the other employees with CV Ice Company enjoy the work, especially when they watch the enjoyment it brings to kids.
“It is a lot of hard work, but it is a lot of fun,” she said. “It is very popular, and most of these kids that are going to come here and do this have never seen snow before, and even some of the adults have never seen snow. It is going to be really neat.”
In addition to the snow slide, the Centennial Christmas Village boasts thousands of Christmas lights, a Heritage Express train that travels throughout the park, themed playhouses and Santa's Workshop.
The village is located at the Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park, 201 North 4th Avenue. It will be open to the public from 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 16 through Dec 22.
Polar Pass entry tickets are $5 each and are available at the entrance of the Christmas Village.
Additional tickets must also be purchased at the village to use the slide. A book of sledding tickets is $5. Kids under 5 are free with a paying adult.
For more information log onto www.visityuma.com or call the Yuma Visitor Information Center at 783-0071 or 800-293-0071.