If you have noticed more activity than usual in and around Sun Valley’s two skating rinks this week, it’s for good reason. Starting Thursday, more than 200 aspiring figure skaters at all levels and from all over the country, will compete in the annual Sun Valley Summer Championships.
This four-day competition heats up the ice with participants donning elaborate costumes and performing their best programs in front of large audiences and a panel of judges.
From the youngest novices to those competing at very high levels, everyone is here to do his or her best. Clubs this year represent Colorado, Washington, Arizona, Utah, Oregon, California, Nevada, Florida and Minnesota. In all, more than 35 clubs are sending skaters to Sun Valley’s storied ice.
Judges return year after year to the Sun Valley Summer Championships, as well. Nineteen judges, technical officials and accountants return this year from locales including California, Washington, Oregon, Ohio, Wyoming, New Mexico, New York, Colorado and Utah. Many say it is among their favorite competitions of the year and something they always look forward to.
Many skaters and officials bring their families with them to Sun Valley to enjoy a vacation before or after the big event. Skaters can be seen in and around the Village and town riding bikes, horseback riding, swimming, shopping, hiking, snacking on an ice cream cone and enjoying everything that makes this area so special. Talk in the locker room is of whitewater rafting or camping trips scheduled once competition has concluded.
This summer is extra special as the Sun Valley Figure Skating Club celebrates its 75th anniversary making it one of the longest running clubs in the nation. For decades, skaters have journeyed to Sun Valley to train in the clean mountain air and at altitude. In the past, there were even dormitories located on Resort property to house all the athletes. The tradition continues with groups of skaters training in Sun Valley throughout the summer with their own coaches and with the pros at the Sun Valley Summer Skating School. Coaches offer daily clinics and group and private lessons in all the fundamentals of skating – from edge control, to spirals, jumps, spins and showmanship.
The public is invited to enjoy any of the events. Thursday through Saturday, competitors will skate in the indoor rink (a great place to cool off on a hot summer’s day). Sunday, the action moves to the outdoor rink for the popular showcase events. Here, skaters are allowed to use props and perform very entertaining programs that are always crowd pleasers. Tickets are not needed for any of the events. On Sunday, our favorite thing to do is to enjoy lunch on the deck at Gretchen’s Restaurant in the Lodge and then find shade in the bleachers to watch an afternoon of action.
The weekend isn’t just for amateurs, though. Sun Valley On Ice reclaims the rink on Saturday night offering some inspiration and entertainment to all the skaters who are in town and anyone else who loves a good show. The July 26 roster features two-time United Stated Gold Medalist and 2011 Skate America champion Alissa Czisny, 2013 and 2012 World Junior Silver Medalist Josh Farris and Sun Valley’s talented soloists, ice dancers, pairs and core skaters. Tickets are available at sunvalley.com.
And the action doesn’t conclude with the final performance on Sunday afternoon. On July 28 and 29, a ProSkaters’ Live Audition and Performance Camp invites skaters back for more. This is a great opportunity for athletes who are at least 16 years old to get a taste of the professional world of skating. Free auditions will be held on July 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. on the outdoor rink. On July 29, workshops will be held beginning at 4 p.m. with off-ice movement. Following a dinner break, current show skaters will share their experiences about life under the spotlight after which the workshop will continue in the indoor rink. The seminar and workshop are $25 for ProSkaters members and $95 for nonmembers. Please click on www.proskaters.org for more information.
Whether you can do a swizzle on the ice, or prefer to order a Rum Swizzle from the Duchin Room and enjoy other’s efforts, be sure to stop at the Sun Valley skating rinks this weekend. It promises to be an action-packed few days.