The World Arena is home now to the Colorado College Tigers' hockey games, but this wasn't always the case. Before the World Arena, crowds would pack into the Broadmore Ice Palace to enjoy not only Tiger hockey but ice skating events as well. The Ice Palace was also a magnet for training many talented ice skaters. The Broadmoor Ice Palace was the vision of two men important to the city of Colorado Springs.
In the late 1930's, the Broadmoor Hotel was a natural place for winter sports. So, in 1938, Spencer Penrose and Charles Tutt developed a plan to convert a riding academy on the hotel grounds into the Broadmoor Ice Palace. The whole country was involved with the beauty of skating. Hollywood even glamorized it with Sonja Henie films and traveling ice shows which packed in crowds all over the country! Spencer Penrose and Charles Tutt knew that the Ice Palace would become a major attraction for the Colorado Springs area.
Amazingly, the conversion only took a little over three weeks at a small cost of $200,000. One hundred tons of ice was frozen to make up the ice surface. Steam pipes were installed around the edges of the rink to keep spectators warm. They even had tables there, and waiters wearing ice skates would deliver drinks and snacks to the people.
Around the same time, the Broadmoor Skating Club was incorporated. The very first year, the club presented ice shows for conventions held at the Broadmoor. They also staged annual summer ice reviews and celebrated the holidays with a big skating extravaganza! For one show, the ice surface was painted to look like a Navajo rug. Tepees were set up at one end of the rink, and real bon fires were lighted! The shows became known as the most "professional" amateur shows in the world.
After Spencer Penrose died in 1939, Charles Tutt and his sons took over managing the Broadmoor Hotel. One of Charles's sons, Thayer, was really into international amateur sports such as figure skating, hockey and golf. The Ice Palace became home to the Colorado College hockey team from 1938 until the Ice Palace was torn down. Colorado College played 55 seasons there! The College sponsored the first NCAA Hockey Championship at the end of the 1947-1948 season at the Broadmoor Ice Palace. The tournament was held there for the next 10 years. Colorado College won its first NCAA Championship at the Ice Palace in 1950.
Besides hockey, the Broadmoor Ice Palace became reknown for figure skating. Due to his interest in this sport, Thayer Tutt hired world class coaches in order to attract world class figure skaters here for training. By the 1940, the Broadmoor Skating Club boasted its first Pacific Coast Champions in Ice Skating: Patty Vaeth and Jack Might. In 1941, the Pacific Coast Championships were held at the Broadmoor Ice Palace itself. In 1945, Thayer brought world class coach Edi Scholdan to the Broadmoor. Because he was here, many international skaters came to train with him. He coached two brothers, Hayes Alan and David Jenkins to their Olympic gold medals. Hayes won his medal in Cortina, Italy in 1956 and David won his at Squaw Valley, California in 1960.
In 1961, the Broadmoor Skating Club received devastating news. Edi and the entire United States Olympic figure skating team headed to Prague for the World Figure Skating Championships. En route, their plane crashed and Edi and the entire American team, plus other coaches, team managers, officials, friends and relatives were all killed. The World Skating Championships were cancelled that year in memory of the American team. The Broadmoor Skating Club created its own memorial to those who perished. A skate-shaped granite bench was placed outside the front entrance to the rink with the names of the Broadmoor Skating Club skaters who died inscribed upon it.
This wasn't the end of the Broadmoor Ice Palace although the name was changed to the Broadmoor World Arena. Thayer Tutt searched for the best coach he could find. He hired Carlo Fassi who ended up coaching Peggy Fleming at the Arena. She went on to win the Olympic Gold Medal at Grenoble in 1968.
The Broadmoor World Arena was torn down in 1993 and in its place are more deluxe rooms as well as meeting rooms for the Broadmoor Hotel. Now for ice skating events, people drive to the World Arena located on the southside of Colorado Springs. The picture of the Broadmoor Ice Palace makes for a good memory of a special time and a special group of talented people.
Bertozzi-Villa, Elena. Broadmoor Memories. Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, Inc., 1993.
Written by: Joan E. Grant and Carole Hiegert