Skating Through the Years

Last week, nearly three dozen skaters descended on Sun Valley’s two ice rinks to enjoy an annual Adult Skating Seminar. Ranging in age and ability and hailing from all across the United States and Canada, according to Pam Farr of the Sun Valley skating program, “we offer something for everyone!”

Dozens of adult skaters enjoyed Sun Valley's beautiful rinks last week at a special seminar

Dozens of adult skaters enjoyed Sun Valley’s beautiful rinks last week at a special seminar. Here, pro Kim Navarro leads a choreography session

The four-day camp includes basics of skating like figures, moves in the field, stroking and edges and more advanced aspects like choreography, jumps, spins, pairs and ice dance. Drop-ins are also welcome and some skaters participate in only a few sessions depending on their interest and schedule constraints.

At a choreography session Wednesday night, professional ice dancer Kim Navarro led a spirited group in a routine that involved lots of turns, tricks and even pom poms. Other skaters and even those enjoying a drink and snack on the Duchin Deck cheered their efforts.

Dancing at dusk in Sun Valley is pretty memorable

Skating the afternoon away in Sun Valley is pretty memorable

Kim, who mesmerizes the audience weekly skating with partner Brent Bommentre in Sun Valley On Ice, said she looks forward to this week every year. “Working with all the adults is very inspiring,” she explained. “To continue to skate through adulthood, juggling work and family in addition to skating, tells me that they have found a satisfaction, love, and passion for our sport. It’s very cool!  And to take the time out of their busy lives to come to this seminar in Sun Valley also tells me that Sun Valley has a special place in their hearts.”

The Adult Skate week has existed in Sun Valley for years but has been going particularly strong for the past decade. This was largely due to the commitment and effort of national ice dance champion Charles Fetter who passed away this summer. His vision for a beautiful gathering place for like-minded adults to enjoy the sport they love was honored this year.

This gathering is not all work and no play, however. According to Pam, “We start the seminar off with an opening social reception to meet and greet everyone.” The party usually extends well past its scheduled deadline as skaters who haven’t seen each other in a year catch up and new friends are made.

Alison, a Seminar attendee from the Bay area, was all smiles, all week

Alison, a Seminar attendee from the Bay area, was all smiles, all week

Alison Bers, who with her husband and ice dance partner, attended the Seminar for the first time said it was a terrific experience. The couple, who hail from the San Francisco area, have been coming to Sun Valley to skate in the summer for the past five years, but only this year did they decide to sign up for the camp. “We thought it would be a nice way to meet other adult skaters, to learn something and to have fun,” she said.

Alison, who did not start skating until she was 50, said the highlights of the week were the choreography sessions and the twilight dance that she called “superb.” “It was really all wonderful,” she smiled as she unlaced her skates “We are exhausted!

Joan trains with pro Brent Bommentre and they are ready for action!

Joan trains with pro Brent Bommentre and they are ready for action!

Joan Kane Josephson from New Jersey, a very sprightly 79-year-old lawyer, said she really enjoyed Adult Skate week. Joan, an ice dancer, skates at least three days a week with the Philadelphia Skating Club but greatly enjoys her time at the Sun Valley rink where she trains with Brent Bommentre. “I was Brent’s first student,” she laughed. “I love this week because I see people I only get to see in the summer and everyone is so friendly.”

Skating for grown-ups in Sun Valley involves great training, but also time to socialize and enjoy the company of like-minded people

Skating for grown-ups in Sun Valley involves great training, but also time to socialize and enjoy the company of like-minded people

Adult skaters are welcome at Sun Valley all summer long and many take advantage of what is called Coffee Club. Coffee Club meets during the week at 9:05 a.m. and provides a group lesson from either a local or show pro, refreshments and free practice on the session that follows. It also provides great camaraderie and has fostered long friendships over the years. As Sun Valley’s Marilyn Alcamo explained with a smile, “If you can stand up, you can come skate with us!

Figure skating is a sport that can be enjoyed through the years, whether athletes started skating as children or first laced up boots well into adulthood. There is no better way to show this than the spirited, inspiring group who visited Sun Valley last week. Please come back and see us again next summer!

–RES