It’s been a busy season so far for the Red Deer Skating Club.
With 2015 in the rear view mirror and 2016 ahead, skaters of all levels have been preparing for a number of events in the coming year.
“We just finished preparing for a very exciting event for our club. We had a club carnival, which is an ice show where the kids get to do numbers and dress up in costumes,” said Patti Somer, who is the club administrator as well as a coach.
The carnival allowed skaters from the CANSkate program all the way up to the competitive figure skating program to dress up and perform routines in a more relaxed setting than they are used to.
According to Somer, most of the Club’s members are registered in the CANSkate program.
“The majority of our numbers are children in the learn to skate program, we call it CANSkate, and they range in age from three usually up to about 12. We also have a program called Pre-Star Skate, which is a transition program from CANSkate into figure skating,” she said.
Currently, she said, there are about 35 to 40 kids in the Pre STARSkate program and 40 in the competitive stream. All of the Club’s CANSkate classes are full, but parents who are interested can check out the club’s web site at www.skatereddeer.com.
“If you’re born in Canada, there’s a couple things you need to know how to do as life skills and I think one of those is skating,” she said about why so many parents sign their kids up for the CANSkate program, which is aimed at teaching young children the basics of skating so they can either move to hockey or ringette or continue with figure skating.
“My favourite part of (my job) is coaching because it’s so rewarding to work with the children. They are just so inspiring and it’s so rewarding to see them work on skills, it doesn’t matter if it’s something as simple as learning how to stop or something more exciting like landing their Axel. Just when you work towards a goal and then when they reach it, their excitement is just contagious.”
For those in the competitive program, the New Year will be a very busy time.
Their focus earlier in the season was on preparing for Sectionals, or Provincial-level competitions, which took place in November. From there, if they qualify, they head off to Canadians and then Worlds.
“We have some children that went to Provincials but that’s as far as they made it this year, so that’s what the competitive kids are looking forward to is Canadians and then Worlds,” Somer said.
Now the focus shifts towards preparing for the Alberta Winter Games in February.
“I think they focus on consistent and specific training so that they can hone their skills. It’s a fine-tuned sport. The movements have to be so precise to jump off of such a narrow little blade and twirl around in the air two times and come down backwards on one foot. The alignment and the precision of movement, and then it has to have the artistry aspect too. So you don’t just have to get the job done, it has to look good.”
The competitive skaters will have a number of opportunities to compete and polish up before the Winter Games on Feb. 13th-16th in Medicine Hat, including Red Deer Skating Club’s own Fun On Ice meet, which runs Jan. 29th and 30th at the Kinsmen Arenas.
“It’s more for Central Alberta. For fun, for skaters of all levels. Not a super-competitive one, just to give everyone a chance to go and do their thing.”