With a jump or a spin, Vanderhoof’s figure skating champions landed with golds and silvers at the first competition of the season.
Thirteen skaters from the Nechako Figure Skating Club participated in the Cariboo North Central Regional Figure Skating Championships and Jamboree in Prince George from Jan. 22 to 24, joining 250 competitors across the region.
“Most of them were first-time competitors, learning the ropes,” said Jennifer Auston, who started coaching the club’s members three years ago. “I was really proud of how they did.”
In preparation for the event, the figure skaters practised with simulations of the competition environment, such as warming up and then performing on empty ice, Auston explained.
“It’s always interesting to see how they do under pressure,” she said.
Instead of focussing on placement during competition, the club’s figure skaters are each setting three goals, specific to their level, to gauge their own success, she explained.
This year, the club’s younger skaters are working on toe loops and Salchows, middle-level skaters on flip jumps, and the club’s highest level skaters on double Salchows.
Nine-year-old Destiny Fjellner, competing for the first time in the regional event, won first and third places in the Star 1 Creative and Star 1 Solo categories.
“At first I was kind of nervous, I wasn’t feeling good, but I got better,” said Fjellner, who started figure skating two years ago and currently trains four times a week.
In the Creative event, figure skaters listen to the performance’s song twice in the dressing room, then “you go on the ice, figure out what you want to do, you do it by yourself, and you just make it up,” she explained.
It was also only Fjellner’s second solo of her figure skating career, as she gradually builds up self-confidence with her first solo during the club’s Christmas carnival last year, her mother Crystal explained.
“She’s a very shy girl,” Crystal said. “I was always like that as a child, though I didn’t want her to be like that.”
In the past, Fjellner didn’t need to be alone on the ice, as beginner figure skaters participate in group performances. Starting this year, as her skills progressed, solos became part of training.
“I didn’t force her, then we took her to the 2015 Canada Winter Games and let her watch, which gave her a boost,” Crystal said. “She’s getting out of her box, her shyness.”
Next action for the Nechako Figure Skating Club will take place in a regional competition hosted at Smithers on Feb. 13 and 14, followed by a provincial competition in Kelowna— 2016 Super Series STARSkate Final — featuring B.C.’s advanced figure skaters from March 4 to 6.
In Vanderhoof, a year-end ice show for the community will take place on March 19.
Highlights from the Nechako Figure Skating Club at the CNCR Regional Championships and Jamboree:
Larissa Hassman – 1st Place Star 2 Field Movements, 1st Place Star 2 Jumps and 3rd Place Star 2 Spins
Jaylen Pedersen – 1st Place Star 2 Spins and 3rd Place Star 2 Jumps
Abigail Stewart – 1st Place Star 2 Jumps, 2nd Place Star 2 Spins and 3rd Place Star 2 Creative
Ayva Lewis – 2nd Place Star 3 Field Moves
Abby Delisle – 3rd Star 5 Spins, 3rd Star 5 Jumps and 2nd Place Star 5 Quad Threat
Destiny Fjellner – 1st Star 1 Creative and 3rd Star 1 Solo
Dyllan Beal – 2nd Star 1 Spins, 3rd Star 1 Jumps, 3rd Star 1 Creative and 3rd Star 1 Quad Threat
Lauren Stewart – 1st Star 1 Spins and 2nd Star 1 Field Movements
Natalia Bjornson – 5th Star 1 Quad Threat
Kinsley Beal – 5th Star 1 Quad Threat
Also participating in the competition were: Shae-Lynn Geernaert, Ellamay Bailey and Finley Bahr. They skated exceptionally as well!
– with files from Jennifer Auston, coach of the Nechako Figure Skating Club