Skaters look to ice nerves during test

Weeks of practising and preparations all come to a head for young figure skaters here as the Borderland Skating Club hosts the Sunset Country regional testing today through Sunday.
Skaters in the junior, primary senior, black intermediate, and gold high skill level will test in one of three categories (dance, skills, and freeskate)—with their promotion in standing resting in the hands of a single Skate Canada evaluator.
Shane Katona, one of 36 BSC members to participate this weekend, will be testing for one of the highest standings—a gold high in the freeskate, which involves a four to five-minute presentation set to music of the skater’s choice.
Katona, an OAC student at Fort High, also will be a skating partner for the girls’ testing in the dance division.
Nine skaters from Kenora and nine from Dryden/Eagle Lake also will be tested here.
While most of the skaters who will be doing evaluations have been through the anticipation process before, this time of the season still can be a little unnerving.
“The pressure level? Oh, it’s there,” said BSC test-day chair Pam Buttner, who can speak from experience as a four-year figure skating parent.
“Some do a good job of dealing with it, some are really noticeable,” she noted.
This past summer, the BSC had a chance to extend its summer camp to four weeks, which resulted in a successful end-of-summer test day.
Buttner said the initial challenge for youngsters taking their first test is being on the ice by themselves for the first time in front of family and peers.
“For the little ones, it can be a pretty scary experience for them to be evaluated,” said Buttner. “But the skaters have traditionally done very well.”
This weekend is the first of four scheduled regional test days. The others are in Dryden in February, Kenora in March, and Eagle Lake in April.
Buttner said those who do not succeed will have a chance for a re-test in their home rink after a minimum of 28 days.