Figure skating club wraps up season

The March 12 skate show was a celebration of the season’s accomplishments.

Members of the Grand Forks Figure Skating Club gather for a wave of thanks following the recent year-end skate show.

The Grand Forks Figure Skating Cub’s recent year-end skate show capped a season which featured a new coach, a new board and renewed motivation.

The March 12 show was a celebration of the season’s accomplishments, with skaters performing solo, in pairs, and in an all-out “have fun” finale. It was a showcase of technical ability portrayed with music and choreography.

“It was a truly remarkable, creative effort,” said coach Raymond Naismith.

Katrina Borak choreographed the CANSkate Level 1 girl solos; Ashlyn Leroy and Paige  Chursinoff choreographed the CANSkate Level 2 girl group number. However, every number was choreographed by the skaters themselves with no help from the coach. “We had very little rehearsal time—from the quality they produced, you wouldn’t know it, they were that good,” Naismith added.

Awards, tests and competitions are all a regular part of the sport of figure skating.

Ashlyn Leroy was awarded the Kootenay Regional Program Assistant of the Year Award for her dedication, reliability and consistency throughout the year. Kalimaya Romaine won the CANSkater of the Year Club Award as the most improved CANSkater. “The reason Kalimaya deserved the CANSkater of the Year Club Award was her determination and effort to achieve new skills,” Naismith said.

Teaching assistant recognition club awards went to Paige Chursinoff, Ashlyn Leroy and Katrina Borak. Club honourary coaching program assistance recognition was awarded to Krista Chursinoff and Roxanne Shepherd.

Test day was held March 13.

Paige Chursinoff (who led the Dutch Waltz number at the year-end show) received excellent marks in her test on the Dutch Waltz, the coach said.

Judge Lisa Sukoveoff commented: “Wow! One of the nicest Dutch Waltz’s I’ve ever seen. Beautiful deep edges, nice whole blade pushes, great posture and wonderful soft knees.”

This made all the sweeter, Naismith said, because Sukoveoff does not give marks away.

“Lisa will give credit for good quality skating and performance but, she doesn’t give away marks—you have to earn them! The test results are unbiased, objective opinions from a very knowledgeable, experience authority on figure skating.”

He added, “We are very fortunate to have a local judge of this quality judging the club skaters without the expense of having to travel to other towns for testing and being dependent on the test dates set by other clubs.”

On test day, Amelia Chornenki passed her preliminary free skate part 1 (elements); Payton Maffioli and Hannah Smuland passed their junior bronze dance (swing dance). Chynna Hoekstra, in passing her Willow Waltz, has completed all her junior bronze dances and graduates to the senior bronze dances.

Other CANSkaters who demonstrated notable improvement were Mylie Evdokimoff, Vlad Tanasescu, Renata Jaeger, Brennin Sjoden and Hailey Starchuk.

The West Kootenay Invitational Competition on Jan. 9-11 was a major event for local skaters.

Alexa Frechette and Violet Villanueva achieved gold status in the STAR 1 event at the competition. Kalimaya Romaine, Paige Chursinoff and Samantha Starchuk achieved silver. Ashlyn Leroy and Lisa Sheets claimed bronze.

Amelia Chornenki was silver in the STAR 2 event, with Petyon Maffioli and Melanie Webster taking bronze.

Payton Maffioli achieved first place in the Intro Elements Event.

Testing—pass/failure rates, standards—are one of the most discussed topics at regional meetings up to the Skate Canada level. “At the Kootenay regional AGM this last weekend, for example, there was much discussion on the high failure rate on tests in this region. I could stand up and boast about our 100 per cent pass rate—this is something that this community should be proud of,” Naismith said.

This club’s results are thanks in large part to several people, he said: Krista Chursinoff and Roxanne Sheppard for assisting with coaching; Terry Webster and parents for help on test day and more; teaching assistants Paige Chursinoff, Ashlyn Leroy and Katrina Borak; and to the board of directors.

Membership in the club has been declining in recent years. This past season should be a springboard to a rejuvenated Grand Forks Figure Skating Club, Naismith said.

We have a very efficient and cohesive club board that worked very hard this past year to provide a coach, maintain ice, and keep the children skating, added club president Cherylle Smuland. “As this past season was a transition year for the club, we look forward to next year with new goals for our club and skaters.

There are challenges to skating in a small community, the coach pointed out: a short season, distance and stress of travelling, funding, scheduling high tests, a desire for more ice time per week, and a hope of lengthening the season.

The standard season is the beginning of September to the end of March, and often spring and summer schools as well. “Five months is a big stretch of not doing that sport,” Naismith said. “That’s why I’d like to see a spring school.”

Even that extra six weeks or so would help keep the momentum going, he said.

The club is sponsored by WD Sheetmetal and Community Futures Boundary, and assisted by a gift-card purchase program at two of the local grocery stores. “Please continue to buy Overwaitea Foods and Buy-Low Foods gift cards to purchase your groceries. For every $100 at Overwaitea, the club raises five per cent cash, and we raise 10 per cent in gift cards at Buy-Low,” Smuland said.

For more information about the club, call her at 250-442-0949.