Figure skating club on solid footing

Many hands make light work, and having many coaches works just fine for the local Border Skating Club.
Another season of recreational and competitive figure skating got underway at the Ice for Kids Arena here recently, with nearly 135 youngsters carving a place for themselves in the popular sport.
“Our numbers are outstanding,” said nine-year veteran coach Tanis Williamson. “To have waiting lists for programs in a town this size is amazing.”
The local club is split up into two groups—with CanSkate and advanced CanSkate participants coming under the recreational heading while the junior and senior skaters mostly are competition-based (although they have the option of remaining non-competitive).
Six coaches oversee their own set of students in the competitive group, with some of the instructors also helping out with the younger age categories.
“It’s a great reward to see the kids accomplish what they do in a season,” said Williamson, who is one of the coaches seeing double duty.
“It’s amazing to watch them go from being non-skaters to being able to just go at the end of the year,” she added.
Williamson said the focus of the club has shifted in recent years to incorporate more fun into the skaters’ education on ice.
“We’ve done things like improve the CanSkate program, adding different circuits at the various levels, and other measures to make the club feel less competitive and more recreational throughout,” she noted.
A test day to give skaters a chance to move up in achievement levels will be held in November, with the club’s first meet scheduled for December in Thunder Bay.
Other meets throughout the winter include the regional competition, set for January in Kenora, followed by the Northern Ontario Skating Association’s all-Ontario qualifier in February.
The provincial championship is scheduled for March, with the Thunder Bay Open taking place that same month.