Friday, May 23, 2008

More News Re "The Ogden Ice Tower"

More promotional gibberish from "Ice Tower Lowe"

We received from one of our gentle readers an interesting email about one hour ago, concerning one of our very most-favorite Weber County Forum topics. It's been almost a full month since we last broached this subject. We're elated to have finally received this new information.

The topic of course is Boss Godfrey's Ice Tower Project, otherwise known affectionately on this site as The Fortess of Mayoral Ego.

Today's reader email contained a marvellous Adobe PDF attachment, which we're absolutely delighted to provide to our gentle readers this Friday afternoon.

By way of background, our "chain of custody" information is spotty. Our understanding, however is that Ice Tower Project information which we are about to provide, was distributed by Friend of Matt (FOM) Jeff Lowe, to an Ogden medical doctor, possibly at the recent Ogden Surgical Society gathering.

We'll now end the suspense, and provide a link to this new information.

As we understand it, this material was personally presented as a request for donations from local Medical Doctors:
Tempted though we are to analyse this sales brochure line-by-line, we'll resist that impulse.

Rather, we'll focus on the most ridiculous parts:

Here, in the last paragraph of Boss Godfrey's endorsement letter (page two on the pdf @ 100%), we find this carney-promotional language from Boss Godfrey:

"The City is contributing significantly to this project and we would be grateful to have you join us as we make it a reality."

To our knowledge, the Ogden City Council has NEVER contributed one dime toward Boss Godfrey's ice-tower project. If we're wrong on this gentle readers, please correct us.

The sole amount of taxpayer money committed (conditionally) to this ridiculous project (according to our understanding) is limited to the $200 K in "conditional" RAMP money that was committed by the RAMP committee morons last year.

And here's another doozy! Jeff Lowe says climbing ice in ridiculous ice climbing towers (and assuming Jeff's questionable projections) will make $12 K in profit annually. This slight profit, would arise from a boondoggle that is now pegged to cost $1.6 million - Which Jeff Lowe is pitching to be publicly-subsidized.

"Nuff said." Time to hear from our gentle readers.

Consider this a Friday nite open thread, if you like.


Southsider said...

Nice Freudian slip on Hizzoner's part:

"Ogden's Hollowgraphic Ice Tower"

Everything about this administration is "Hollow".

Nice that he represents Ogden with this shoddy writing!

Dr. Sigmund Freud (Vienna) said...

Jeff Lowe admits he's afflicted with MS.

It's a neurologiccal disease that effects brain function.

He can be forgiven.

What's Godfrey's excuse?

Little Bird said...

I would personally judge a sponsering company in a negative light. In fact I was surprised to see the logo "Petzl" on the example parking garage wall. I was under the impression that Petzl prided its company on being environmentally friendly, but I guess not!!! More Black Diamond gear for this climber.

Jason W. said...

Other potential sponsoring entities:

Vidalia onions
Wolfgang Puck
Wayne Peterson and his Famed Squirrel Patrol
Patagonia vests
God-and-short-man's complexes
Hair extensions for men
Company that produces shit orbs for gondola car undercarriages

Seriously, this is the same squad of deluded jokers who, if they had had their way, would have wagered that tossing away (off) our largest parkland for only $7 million would then net $14 million in decal boondoggles for THE GONDOLA TO NOWHERE. And they can't come up with $1.6M for the giant frozen dildo that will be "unique," "one of a kind" and "only in Ogden." Kind of like that little bird, the bird of hope about which THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE likes to speak. Of course, all these GONDOLA lovers need is one-tenth of one percent of the worlds high-adventure jagoffs to visit OTown and we'll all be rolling in so much dough, we'll all purchase late-model Corvettes and plaster them with stickers.


Monotreme said...

I still think it would be cheaper for Ogden City taxpayers and/or corporate sponsors to charter a jet and fly ice climbers to this facility in Scotland.

I note with bitter amusement that Mr. Lowe had to add a lot of adjectives to "ice tower" to make it the "only": free-standing, refrigerated, year-round. I'm not sure that the facility in Scotland doesn't already meet all of those criteria. Almost certainly we could learn a lot from the operators of this tower, like how much interest there might be in such a thing, what sort of operating costs there might be, and the like.

(In our "fly to the Scottish ice tower" plan, we would include the disadvantaged. In the words of Mayor Godfrey, we can "help them realize they can do amazing things". Gang wars would stop, no doubt, if the cholos would just learn to ice climb.)

The ice climbers might also take a side trip to the original Ben Lomond. Of course, the Ben Lomond here is the only year-round, outdoor, non-refrigerated mountain of that name within miles of a vast saltwater lake. Their ice tower is 80 miles from Ben Lomond. Ours is maybe 1/3 the distance. Clearly, ours is superior.

Curmudgeon said...

Ah... Mr. Lowe seems to be soliciting private contributions to the project. Seems to me, several posters here were saying, not too long ago, that if the project could be done with no more public funding, then no problem. That seems to be what he's hard at work doing, raising private funding. Hard put to criticize him for that.

On the other hand, I too wonder what the significant city contributions referred to are. I suspect, if queried, it would turn out to be city support for the RAMP conditional funds, time of city development staff promoting the project, etc. rather than cash infusions. Though if Mr. Lowe has received a pledge of further funding [public money] from Hizzonah, then the Council and the public should know that.

Incidentally, a SLC TV station did a piece today on "staycations" --- which the national press now says are all the rage this memorial day, and will be this summer, as gasoline effortless clears 4 bucks a gallon and keeps on going. The piece touted things to do on short trips [one day or less] in the SLC area, and included the Surfrider at the Junction, and the Wind Tunnel Ride there too. Piece done specifically with memorial day in mind. Naturally, Front Runner will not be running Monday, eliminating that means of gasless access.

danny said...

Jeff Lowe kicked off his "major fund raising campaign" last year, Curm, so this is nothing new.

The mayor's letter is filled with empty hype and lies - also nothing new.

The key issue for me, is ice climbing is so very, very BORING. Its public appeal is NIL.

Else, why does nowhere else but this Scottish place have one? Please tell me, can anyone actually watch a video of someone climbing ice without pressing fast forward or hitting his head on the desk in bored agony?

It's another Ifly - further proof that Godfrey is a foolish man whose only claim to fame is spending, spending, spending the formerly deep well of Ogden City's borrowing power.

This is all so sickening.

Moroni McConkie said...

Usually I try to maintain a Curmudgeonesque serenity where Ogden politics is concerned, but this is not only sickening (Danny's word) but depressing. We are treated to an uncensored demonstration of the mayor's intractable delusion that high-adventure is the key to restoring Ogden's glory. (How does he stick to it in the face of overwhelming evidence and common sense to the contrary? Was it his own private theophany?)

Let me be loud and clear: the key to bringing the crowds to downtown Ogden is alcohol and businesses that open on Sunday. Let me be loud and clear: it is folly to cater to Mormon tastes; those folks will never come downtown even if their interest is piqued, because they are too busy.

Ogden's "cowboy mayor," Harman Peery, was a Mormon and a genius for promoting the Junction City and making it sizzle. Recently I asked someone who knew him well the difference between Peery and Godfrey. The secret? Peery "understood the separation between church and state."

Bill C. said...

Ya gotta just love the underprivileged kids approach, this is the same miniature lying little bigot that defunded the Marshall White Center, a lot more things those kids could be doing deserve no funding, but he's all for getting them on the artificial icecicle.

Little Bird said...

I agree with Moroni, the key to a happening downtown is alcohol and frequent outdoor festivals. Ogden could benefit from something similar to SLC's Twighlight series. Also allowing Mormon's to create the atmosphere in Ogden will not work. Anyone ever been to a LDS wedding reception. It is very similar (but worse) than watching ice climbing.

danny said...


I'd like to suggest that the icicle is not high adventure or any other kind of adventure.

It's a boring, narrow interest way to give Jeff Lowe something to do for the rest of his life, now that he's done asking people to pay him to climb rocks.

The icicle is $2 million plus of taxpayer subsidized boredom.

It's the mayor's magic trick of turning Jeff Lowe's white elephant into a black hole.

The best I can hope is that Lowe out asking for money again may indicate the city council, growing weary of the stream of falsehoods from the mayor, has responded to his lie that he has private funding by asking him to "show us the money."

Since he has none (due to a total lack of any public interest in the icicle), Jeff is hitting the panhandling circuit trying to get some, like he said he was going to do a year ago, and probably having as much luck this time, i.e., none.

Little Bird:

Yes, outdoor festivals. Years ago somebody suggested a street party in downtown every Friday night, with cruising on the 'Vard.

It seems obvious. But it doesn't get considered, because it doesn't put money into the pockets of Godfrey's cronies. Always remember that's what he's about, and all he is about.

But you and Moroni are completely right.

Curmudgeon said...

Danny and MM:

Danny: You wrote:

Please tell me, can anyone actually watch a video of someone climbing ice without pressing fast forward or hitting his head on the desk in bored agony?

Well, I do, occasionally on TV. Just as I watch films on TV of free climbers [barking mad, the lot of 'em, but I find it interesting to watch], and mountain climbers as well. Ice climbers too on occasion. Not often, but I don't find it boring. [Boring is "Dancing With The Stars" or "American Idol" or "Survivor" or "Big Brother" or practically any "reality" programing you can mention.] Interests differ, Danny.

Well... you asked.

MM: While I agree businesses being open on Sundays would help downtown Ogden, I don't think that is the silver bullet to downtown prosperity and revival. The downtown has to do business the six other days as well, every week.

When I first came here and picked up Ogden's promotional booklet at the FS/Tourist Office in Union Station, one page of it began "Nobody ever went broke in the liquor business in Ogden." Yes, establishing downtown as a section of the city with a lively late afternoon and evening street scene would be nice. But you're really not going to have a whole lot of luck making that happen unless Gov Huntsman's proposal to eliminate the "private club for members" rules succeeds. [Have they changed his meds? What the hell got into him? And whatever it was, can we send a barrel of it to every legislator just before the session?]

But it can't be just that. Ogden's CVB is now advertising 25th Street and downtown as a place where you won't find big box stores and cookie cutter chains, but locally owned one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants and clubs. As far as History 25th Street is concerned, seems to me that's a major key to long term success: differentiating the street from other places; offering what you won't find replicated in every mall from here to Kansas. And back. [And here let me trot out my suggestion of nearly two years ago that someone ought to open one of the old brothel buildings on 25th as a Historic Brothel B & B. Can't miss.]

There are other keys too, one of which is ramping up the resident population of the downtown area. All those condos and similar developments like Union Square phase one need to come on line and sell, and fill with reasonably upscale residents.

There is no silver bullet, I'm afraid. Just liquor on Sundays alone isn't going to do it. Not by itself.

Anonymous said...
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Tec Jonson said...


UTA and Frontrunner completely missed the opportunity to introduce families to riding the train on holidays. Who makes these decisions anyway? This is the first national swill fest I can remember that staying at home is considered chic, or at the very least, wise. In the light of the recent fuel shock, it would seem a natural for UTA to be promoting their system for something other than weekday commuting. Government and it's agencies are so far behind the curve. A 3 day weekend and the train is closed for 2 of them. Will we ever grow up as a nation?

Curmudgeon said...


I imagine costs came into the figuring. Say, for example, you wanted to experiment with running trains in each direction every two hours on holidays/Sundays. Say, just for the sake of argument, at 9, 11, 1, 3, 5 and 7. Well, the problem is, you have to pay crews for the layover time at each end of a run, and you're not generating any revenue during that layover time. That two hour schedule above works out to five hours of layover time for crews, generating no revenue. Plus probably paying sunday/holiday crews time and a half. Gets expensive real fast.

I imagine if/when they convince themselves the business is there, they'll move into Sunday/Holiday schedules, but it may take a while. FR too is subject to the chicken/egg problem. Which comes first? the demand or the service? Without putting the service in, you can't generate the demand, but without the demand existing, you can't put in the service.

I'd like to see holiday service too, but they're still just getting this thing out of the starting blocks, so to speak, and I'm a reluctant to start piling on just yet.

fireman joe said...

Talked to a couple who thought they had found the perfect solution for entertaining the family. They drove up from Bountiful, mom, dad and little kids going to the movie, teens to the Junction-too bad for them it was Sunday. It's also too bad for us because they said they would not bother driving north again.

fly on the wall said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tec Jonson said...

I shouldn't complain about Sunday FrontRunner service. Even NYC and LA have reduced or no service on most lines. This is an indication of the seriousness of our energy crisis. It isn't. At least in the minds of the common joe blow. Most think gas prices will deflate at some fantasy time in the future. Most have not given a thought to adjusting their profligate lifestyle. I pity the fools. I-15 is filled with confident empty heads every day. I still ask friends if they have ridden the train yet. Most have not. Yet they have made numerous trips to SLC for little more than trinkets or a downtown meeting since FR opened. I have a theory that once the fuel is in the tank, Americans can not figure the math. Well, 'Merikans ain't so good with math in any scenario, 'specially word problems(real world fuel calculations).

Anonymous Employee said...

The Ogden Airport has been closed to commercial traffic by order of the FAA. The city's 34 year old crash truck at the airport does not meet federal standards.

disgusted said...

i found this information about the scottish indoor climbing wall. interesting in that it talks about the design of the structure.

How the Ice is Made
Simulating what nature provides is actually extremely difficult. The best climbing conditions are achieved by a process of repeat 'freeze/thaw'. This process is bolstered by the surface of the rock being frozen and water/snow freezing hard on the surface. In order to re-create this, as closely as the 'real thing' takes a number of separate steps:

Under the floor of the ice room is approximately 15m of concrete - below the surface of the bay. This is needed to hold the massive weight of the ice.
The floor carries a heat membrane to prevent the ice breaking into the foundations of the building.
The entire room is insulated with single piece panel. Essentially building a gigantic fridge.
The room is laid out in a steel frame (as for conventional climbing walls) to support the weight/loads of the climbing walls
The steel frame then has rebar (as for motorway construction) over-laid. This is shapes to form the arretes, edges, gully features etc.
Behind the rebar, a maize of coolant pipes are laid. These pipes carry the industrial Glycol coolant, which allows us to rapidly cool the room.
We can bring the temperature down to 50 degree below zero!
Concrete is sprayed over the top of the pipes/rebar. This gives additional strength and provides an excellent surface for the ice to bond and adhere to.
The industrial coolants and fans then provide the temperature flexibility to create real ice/snow/frozen turf/neve. Easy!

sound like a lot more money than 1.6 million dollars.

disgusted said...

interesting too is that it appears that the scottish wall is about 300 feet wide and accommodates only 20 climbers while ogdens system is only about 80 feet wide plus two climbing poles and says it can accommodate 24 climbers. about one climber each 4 feet apart, sounds pretty crowded to me.

also the ogden wall shows only four employees. it will need more management people than that if it’s a seven day a week operation and each climber will need some one to operate the safety line. if truly 24 climbers then you would need 24 employees operating the safety line otherwise the liability insurance costs would be astronomical. can’t depend on the climbers buddy if the city money is at risk. the employee cost for the people operating the safety lines is not calculated into the operating cost.

also the electrical cost seem way low relative to other operations that are large electrical users. convience stores use as much if not more electricity per year than this performa suggests that the ice tower will use and c stores are smaller operations relative to refrigeration.

disgusted said...

no debt service no loan repayment provisions or return on capital calculated into the cost of operating the system

Tec Jonson said...

Building these ice towers seems to be in an infancy and the engineering sounds pretty elaborate. Are there more than a handful worldwide? If it weren't a one-off design the cost would be lower but this sounds like there are many opportunities for cost overruns.

googleboy said...

Other Ice Walls

googleboy said...

Indoor Ice Climbing Walls and Gyms

Tec Jonson said...

The Castleford icewall in the Xscape is now closed to make room for other attractions. Maybe it didn't attract enough. The Xscape center looks like a scaled up Salomon Center. It was one of three in Britain. If this monstrosity could not make it there I have serious doubts for it in Ogden. West Yorkshire county where Castleford is located has a population of over 2 million. Maybe they have some refrigeration units for sale.

googleboy said...


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