The Stettler Recreation Centre was busy this past weekend as figure skaters from all around central Alberta, plus the few rare from further abroad in the province, descended for the annual Future Stars Fun Skate.
The event, which spanned Saturday, Jan. 21 and Sunday, Jan. 22, expanded to two days for the first time this year, according to one of the event organizers, Lisa Johnson. Johnson is also one of the figure skating coaches and a director on the Stettler Figure Skating board.
The event saw more than 150 figure skaters come from Stettler and area, and nearby central communities like Coronation, Hanna, Red Deer and Consort. Others came from further afield, coming in from Edmonton, Calgary and Olds.
“We wanted to have a competition that was fun and no pressure,” Johnson explained. “This is now our fourth year.”
The competition started as a CanSkate competition, where participants were judged “in isolation” performing specific skills, such as spins and jumps. In isolation means that the skater skates alone, and performs the skill without accompanying music or routine.
Routines were part of the competition as well, Johnson said, with skaters performing individual and group routines to music.
“We wanted to attract older skaters to come take part, so we added the second day,” Johnson said.
The second day’s events focused on competitions for the older StarSkate skaters, most of which were girls.
“We have boy skaters, but once they’re old enough for hockey we tend to lose them,” Johnson said. “But some stay. We had one boy competing in the StarSkate this weekend.”
One of the new events offered this year was an Improv Skate.
“Skaters got to hear the music twice in practice, then were put in isolation,” she explained, adding that isolation meant participants were staying in a locker room.
One by one, they’d be called forward and take to the ice, making up a routine on the fly.
“We had several people sign up,” Johnson said. “Then, when more skaters learned what it entailed, they said that was something they’d like to do.”
The competition doesn’t pit skaters against other skaters, but instead pits skaters against an average. If the skater performs well, they will be able to meet the average set by CanSkate and StarSkate, and be rewarded on that merit.
“Everyone gets medals,” Johnson said. “We wanted to keep it friendly and low pressure, but keep a target for skaters to strive toward.”
The club ran a raffle table, raffling off donated items to help fund the club. The amount raised was not known at press time.