Alpine Curling Supply is located in southern Wisconsin 50 miles south of Madison
on the Wisconsin , Illinois border. In the rolling hills of Green County lies Monroe,
a town of 10,000 people with a Swiss heritage and is known as,
The Swiss Cheese Capital of The USA !
Hello from Alpine,
When you find a product you would like to purchase please telephone Alpine at 608-325-6365
or send a email and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Thanks Bob!
Email Alpine   Phone 608-325-6365

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About Alpine
                                   He's got the ice thing down cold.
                                Published Friday, January 27, 2006 7:58:44 AM Central Time 
                                                      By Judie Hintzman of The Times 

             MONROE -- Bob Rufi has an engaging grin and a hearty -- and frequent -- laugh. He openly
             displays warm affection for his family and his friends. And people in general, for that matter. 

             Nonetheless, he's a coldly passionate man when it comes to ice. 

             Rufi has voluntarily been making ice for the Alpine Curling Club for 31 years and many credit
             his efforts as a vitally important component in the group's determination to keep the
             organization off the slippery slope of indifference toward the sport. 

             Born and raised on the family farm near Monroe, the Monroe High School graduate was a
             dairy farmer until 1988 when he quit milking and started a commercial hay business, which he
             operates today. His interest in curling also led him to start Alpine Curling Supply in 1987. 

             And all things curling are his passion. 

             "Curling is a pretty unique sport," Rufi explains, noting it was called the "roaring game" when it
             first began in Scotland and "sweepers" had to sweep the snow off the ice to keep the "rocks"
             moving. Curling is the same sport all over the world, he says, and it's especially popular in
             Wisconsin, which boasts at least 30 curling clubs. 

            

             Bob Rufi of Monroe has been making ice for the Alpine Curling Club for 31 years. He not
             only prepares the ice during a weeks-long process before the season begins in the late fall, he
             returns to the club at least once - often more than once a week to keep the surface in optimal
             playing condition. 
             Times photo: Brenda Steurer 

             And, he says, one of the best things about it is that curlers are just ordinary folks. "Curlers are
             'next-door' people," he says. 

             If he's enthusiastic about the sport, Rufi's equally enthralled with all things related to ice
             making. 

             "A person that makes ice can't have a 'real' job," Rufi laughs as he describes the ins and outs
             of ice making, which has become much more technical with passing years. 

             He even went to ice making "school" in Windsor, Ontario, Canada to learn to make better ice.
             Rufi starts making ice in October, a few weeks before the season starts. The process involves
             a sand base interwoven with pipes that pump a "brine" of anti-freeze solution under the surface
             that freezes the ice. A compressor pumps the brine under the ice and when the season ends,
             the compressor is shut down and the ice melts. But the process is much more involved than
             that, although Rufi modestly points out that "most of it's just common sense -- the kind of
             things you learned on the farm." In the fall, Rufi first sprays the base several times so the sand
             becomes saturated, "cooling everything down." He later floods the area until he gets about a
             half-inch of ice. Once the surface is frozen and prepared, he and other volunteers paint the
             markings on the ice needed for curling, using a special white polarized paint. 

             The result is a cold room that somewhat resembles a small-scale gymnasium or bowling alley
             -- except the surface is white. 

             And very cold. 

             Once the surface is ready for play, Rufi's ice making chores begin in earnest. His explanation
             sprinkled heavily with words like "pebbles" and "burner" and "scraper," Rufi estimates he
             spends at least one full afternoon a week maintaining the ice, and, of course, he's there to keep
             the surface in playable condition when people are curling. 

             The curlers are particular about the ice they play on and Rufi can sometimes take some heat if
             a player thinks the ice isn't in optimal condition. But he takes it all pretty good-naturedly. "I
             enjoy coming and making ice," he said and laughed, "then I say 'now we have to let the animals
             in.'" 

             His wife Barb also smiles good-naturedly, albeit with somewhat raised eyebrows, when she
             talks about her husband's affinity for the ice. She said he sometimes -- maybe too often --
             wakes up in the middle of the night to go out to the Curling Club and work on or check the
             surface. 

             The Rufi's have five children, Mike, Kathy, Deb, Jim and Mark, and eight grandchildren. 

             But ice making isn't the only thing Rufi does for the Alpine Curling Club. He promotes it night
             and day and is especially enthusiastic about getting young people interested. Call him, he says,
             at (608) 325-6365 or take a look at the Web site, which has a quick tutorial on curling, at
             www.alpinecurling.com.

             Rufi, who has cut his actual curling time down to once a week, enjoys robust health and will
             keep making ice as long as he's able. But he's determined to pass on his expertise to new
             icemakers and hopes some will come along who will want to take on the task. 

             Meanwhile, anyone who doubts his passion for ice need only pull up behind the Rufi's van at a
             stop sign in Monroe. The license plate says it all: "ICE MKR."

 



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