On The Edge... Again

The last time I skated regularly, you needed 2 pair of skates, a scribe and skated patch. Triple jumps were almost unheard of, so were Bielman spins. Twizzles were only done by ice dancers and Ronald Regan was just elected into office.


Fast Forward 32 years. Starting January 2, 2012, I am back on the ice doing something else that was unheard of .... Adult Figure Skating. We had "coffee club", which was like adult swim, but there was no opportunity for testing or competition.


It has now been 8 years since I got back on the ice. I have not competed since 2016 , but my blog is still going. My YouTube channel has over 1600 subscribers. That’s just crazy!

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Bronze Ice Dance Tests

Finalizing my extraordinary week in Sun Valley for the adult skating week 2020 - was testing my three Bronze Ice Dances:  The Hickory Hoedown, The Willow Waltz and the Ten Fox. 

Back in 2017 the last time I came to Sun Valley during the solar eclipse - I took a lesson with Brent Bommentre and he reviewed the steps with me for the Hickory Hoedown.  I took another lesson with Chris Obzansky and he attempted to teach me the steps of the Willow Waltz and the Ten Fox.  After that I didn’t have any coaching for ice dance and I really didn’t put any practice in on the dances.  I find practicing the dances solo quite difficult.

Toward the end of 2019 at my winter residence in Arizona, I found a new coach Sue Burdick who worked with me on all three dances.  Maybe 3-4 lessons.  I also went up to Scottsdale Ice Den once and took a long lesson with Todd Gilles so I could know what these dances felt like partnered. That was March 6, 2020 just before all the rinks closed during the COVID19 pandemic.

With no practice until July of 2020 - without a coach I attempted to recall what I learned from those few lessons and I showed up at Sun Valley determined to test at the end of the week.  I signed up for a daily lesson with Brent Bommentre - Masked up due to COVID19 protocol we hammered out the dances as best as we could in 5 days.  Skating at nearly 6,000 feet with a mask ... need I say more?  It’s difficult to breathe and relax .. 

During one of my tests he said .. BREATHE ... honestly I think I held my breath for the entire Hickory Hoedown!  

Results are in:  I passed all three even with some honors points by some of the judges. I am happy and of course also regretful that the errors I did make showed their ugly faces!

Thanks to all the coaches mentioned above - you were all part of my success this week.


Hickory Hoedown



Willow Waltz


Ten Fox

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Sun Valley Adult Skating Week 2020

 It’s Saturday August 29, 2020.  Sun Valley Adult Skating Week 2020 has come to and end. My week will be over this afternoon - after the test session.  As always Sun Valley Adult Skating Week did not disappoint.  All of the group classes were both fun and very helpful when returning home to continue practicing.    

Due to COVID there are some changes this year.  Smaller attendance obviously, but most people are wearing masks on and off the ice.  It’s required on ice only if you are in a partnered pairs or dance lesson, but you will notice more skaters wear a mask than not in the group classes.  I find it very difficult to skate with a mask on.  It’s terribly uncomfortable, hot and humid.  I know I am not being oxygen deprived, but it feels as though I am -so it affects my stamina... which is waning by the year anyway! Masks are also required on the benches outside the indoor rink - which is where we are putting on our skates and leaving our belongings. Outside we use the bleachers to lace up and we only pass through the chalet to check in for sessions and classes.  If you take a private lesson you are also required to have your temperature taken just beforehand.  For the record I was 95, 95, 96, 96, 96 !  

This year I decided to try and test at the end of the week.  I have been taking a daily lesson with Brent Bommentre on the indoor ice every day late in the afternoon.  I never feel completely “ready” for a test, but having a professional skater and coach propping you should take off some of the pressure.  I’ll be testing the Hickory Hoedown, Willow Waltz and the Ten Fox - the Bronze level ice dances.

Sorry the indoor videos - they are difficult to see - It’s impossible to capture ice dancing without someone following you with a camera.

In summary, COVID or not.  Sun ValleyAdult Skating Week is worth the splurge.  The energy, love, camaraderie and scenery are all icing on the cake to a great week of skating.  Thank you Scott Irving and Pam Farr for putting it all together once again.


Patch 7:00 am Monday!


Coffee Club Monday with Frank Sweiding


Arms In Space with Stephanee Grosscup


Spin to Win with Craig Heath


Lesson 1 with Brent Bommentre


Advanced Edge Class with Erin Reed


                                                                    Lesson #2 with Brent Bommentre





Group Photo during Wednesday Coffee Club




Edges and Extension with Erin Reed

                                                                                    

         

Lesson #3 with Brent Bommentre


Wednesday morning patch 8:15


    
                                   

   Program Dance Session


MIF with Anita Hartshorn


                                                                    Lesson #4 with Brent Bommentre


                                                                 Friday morning last patch of the week

         

Coffee Club Friday with Stephanee Grosscup


Edge Jumps with Jonathan Hunt


Lesson #5 - Last lesson with Brent Bommentre before my test!



Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Peek a Boo Skate before Sun Valley


I’ve been skating about 2 times a week for the past couple of months. It’s been slow going. I haven’t had any coaching. I have been concentrating on the Bronze Ice Dances and Gold Moves in the Field. 

At the end of today’s freestyle session I decided to video a few clips - I am very out of shape still and have lost a lot of skills. 

Sunday I’m heading to Sun Valley for Adult Skating Week 2020 and plan on daily lessons with Brent Bommentre and testing 3 dances on the 29th  (if he thinks I’m ready).

I think we have to wear a mask 😷 for lessons adnd testing!!!





Friday, July 3, 2020

Still skating unable to video

I’ve been skating 2 to 3 times a week unlimited freestyle sessions at my rink and they are still discouraging anyone from taking pictures or video and posting them on social media. They don’t want any controversy surrounding the business as everyone knows ice rinks are hurting badly these days and we need to keep this rink open!

I just to prove that I’m still here.. my blades are full of ice and at one point I got my heart rate up to 167 bpm!


Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Another session - progress report

I skipped skating my pre-paid session on Monday because I had to wait for a service call at our home.  So Tuesday I had to show up and give it my best.  Each session has exactly 12 skaters on it.  Today there were a few faces I didn’t recognize. 

I skated on the 2nd of 2 sessions our club has right now.  The high level skaters had just gotten off and the ice was a bit chewed up.  That makes it harder for me to work on moves in the field.  My back eights and double three turns are slow enough on fresh ice!

Im still struggling to maintain good edges on the double three turns.  All of them.  Some feet/edges are better than others but none of them show real control.  If I get the edge right my body is fighting and has no composure or look relaxed.  If I carry myself calmly - I usually lose the edge and get “subcurves”.  All that is from years
 of improper edging.

In the dance department - all 3 of the bronze ice dances are coming along.  I am learning to get more comfortable doing backward chassee’s, backward progressives, backward swing rolls and just about every step on the Ten Fox is challenging either mentally or physically!  The Hickory Hoedown, while not nearly perfect is probably testable.

Friday I have another session - we’ll see.  


Friday, June 5, 2020

Yup .. skated today

I really can’t motivate myself to write about my skating without evidential proof!

Today I skated about 50 minutes of a 1 hour freestyle session filled with 12 skaters.  Most of whom are of the high level - doing doubles and a few triples.

I did my best to stay out of their way whilst trying to warm up, stroke, practice dances and moves in the field.

Looking forward to getting my old public sessions back where I can vlog about my boring practices!


Sunday, May 31, 2020

Look Ma No Video

In a direct email from our club - we were bold type told no filming or photography during freestyle sessions of any kind. I have no idea why. They stated it was Coronavirus related. Hmmm.

Now I will have to paint a picture with words.  It was my  2nd skate since lockdown.  Back at my home club rink in Spokane WA - Lilac City Figure Skating Club.  1 hour freestyle session with a limited number of skaters.

COVID19 rules:

  • We entered through the back door 
  • Minimal personal items allowed inside
  • No changing in the restrooms - locker rooms off limits (not that I used our locker room anyway) 
  • A verbal questioning on entry about lack of exposure to Corona and a sanitizing of our kiss and cry bags.   
  • No RinkMusic allowed yet., but they did allow an iphone to be plugged in for background music
  • Skates put on at the rink side bleachers
  • Kiss-and-cry bags on the rails must be 6’ apart
  • All dynamic warm ups in the parking lot.  What?  We are supposed to warm up before skating? 

I have to say, for me .. skating a freestyle session is more productive than a public session where I can spend much of it skating round and round socializing, stretching at the wall and killing time.  At a freestyle session everyone works hard so you feel guilty if you aren’t continually doing something constructive.

I spent my session stroking - trying to employ deeper knee bend into the ice and extension of my free leg - dance style.  I did Chasse’s and Swing Rolls, forward Cross Rolls, Swizzles and Slalom pumps, Crossovers and Progressives.  Then I spent 20 minutes doing 3 patterns of the Hickory Hoedown, Willow Waltz and Ten Fox and another 15 minutes attempting the Gold Moves in the Field .. repeating those that felt uneasy (Double Three Turns and Brackets). Near the end of the session I did a few Spirals, a few Scratch Spins, A Spread Eagle and after my Camel Spin fell apart I decided I had had enough.  The last minutes were spent power stroking 3 laps.  NO JUMPING whatsoever today.  I just wasn’t ready.

Here’s the only proof I have that I skated!





Wednesday, May 20, 2020

First skate since March 13! Post Covid19

Although the crisis of the pandemic is far from over many states are beginning to reopen and launch their phase 2 openings. Arizona is such a state. Today I was able to attend a freestyle session with limited skaters on the ice and take a lesson. The only requirement was that you come mostly prepared to skate and only spend time in the lobby putting your skates on and taking them off. They asked that you keep your tissues to yourself, obviously don’t share water bottles or touch anyone else’s stuff.

As my coach said you’re  going to feel a bit like “Bambi“ first time out but it wasn’t too bad I just felt unsure of my edges and posture ... but truth be told ...that’s always the case ha ha.

This is my last lesson down in Arizona before heading back to Washington state for the summer. We worked on some fundamentals and the Hickory Hoedown as well as went over the steps of the 10 Fox.

It felt great to be back on the ice.


Friday, March 13, 2020

Another New Rink in Arizona - Peoria

I got to Gilbert AZ Ice today for a published public session from 9:45 to 11:45 but it had been swapped out for hockey.  What to do - all dressed for skating and nowhere to go .. I search the area for sessions.... Scottsdale .. no ... Chandler .. no ... Peoria ... YES!  I would be a little late for the start but they had a Coffee Club from 11:45 am to 1:30 pm.... Siri ... I need directions to ...

A quiet coffee club.  No instruction, just adult skating.  Good music playing .. (I muted it on the video however) - I didn’t really meet anyone except a nice girl named Rachel from Disney on Ice who is on hiatus from the show due to the COVD-19 ..

- These are crazy times.

I did a lot of ice dance practice and also MIF but if you follow my blog .. and videos you will notice how utterly BORING both of those things are to watch.  Unless you have someone following you with a camera .. Ice dance practice just isn’t feasible.


Thursday, March 12, 2020

Another Ice Cafe in Scottsdale

I went to another Ice Cafe adult session w/lesson today.  Met some amazing adult skaters and enjoyed the edge class with coach Grant Rorvick again.

I worked on my ice dances before the class (not shown) but did a little freestyle when it was over.


Friday, March 6, 2020

Thursday in Scottsdale, Friday in Gilbert

Thursday I drove up to Scottsdale to attend an adult session called Ice Cafe.  It’s 90 minutes of ice time with a lesson included by a coach de jour ... This week it was Grant Rorvick.  Great fun.  Nothing but edges with extension and arms to help us look like REAL skaters!

After that was my first lesson with head coach for ice dance, Todd Gilles.  It was great having someone to hang onto!  I wish I had more footage of us partnering but we had to break it down and work on some issues.

Friday I also skated at Gilbert Ice without a lesson and did 1 run of each of the dances without a partner.  I feel like I am learning to skate all over again with ice dancing.








Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Turns on the Short Axis

Well all good things come to an end.  Today - out of respect for another skater who does not wish to be shown on YouTube or my blog - I chose not to record my practice session today.  I worked on all my Bronze dances with music in my Bluetooth hat!   I didn’t have enough stamina to bother putting on the real music and trying to skate them.  I thought I would be getting stronger - skating more and working at it but I feel some killer fatigue - it’s probably the excess weight.

Anyway, after this camera shy - privacy seeking adult skater left the ice;  it was business as usual for the remainder of the session. I was tired from my dance runs so I just did some turns practice on the short axis.

My current dance coach here in Arizona also requested that I do not post our lessons with audio or with subtitles explaining her coaching methods.  I will have to abide by the rules, but I’ll still be posting my practice sessions.


Friday, February 28, 2020

Baby Steps - Another Dance Lesson

Today I had another lesson and 1/2 on my Bronze dances.  I am making a little progress but the things that I am struggling with are


  1. Wide stepping my three turns
  2. Not really doing a back progressive - they look like chassés sometimes
  3. Lunging forward when stepping from RFO edge to LFO edge .. especially on three turns

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Practice Day Finally

I have been skating only once a week for a while now, taking a lesson on the day I skate.  This is a really bad plan for learning anything - lessons without practice -

During my session today I practiced all three of the Bronze Ice Dances.  I have probably said this before, but I must reiterate: Dancing solo is much harder than dancing with a partner.  You really have to feel secure on your edges, especially the back edges.

It’s not the best video but you can see my trouble areas.

  • Wide stepping the three turn on the Hickory Hoedown
  • Going off pattern during the swing roll
  • Doing Chasses vs back progressives on the Willow Waltz
  • Wide stepping the three turn on the Willow Waltz
  • Messing up the steps on all dances especially the Ten Fox (It’s pretty new)
But I do feel progress is being made.  Just not as quickly as I would like.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Some Renegade Freestyle Today

After my dance lesson this morning - I decided to go rogue and skate a bit of freestyle today.
I miss it but wont return until I shed some of this weight.


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Skating through a Cold

I had to reschedule another lesson due to company and that usually means an early morning skate.  Today I also have a cold and I was SO OUT OF BREATH we didn’t even run a dance with music on.
I thought I felt good enough to skate till I got there and tried to stroke!


Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Ten Fox Lesson

Today I had an early morning (for me) lesson as an early makeup lesson - due to company coming to visit.  Sacrifices must be made!  My new coach who I really adore is Sue Burdick.  If anyone reading this blog skates in Arizona - she is available for coaching at Gilbert AZ Ice.  We are just clicking and I am really enjoying her method of coaching.  She is encouraging and explains things to me in a way that sinks in (most of the time!)

I didn’t think I was going to try to learn the Ten Fox but she thinks it’s something I can do.  Practice time is my problem.  There will be a test session in March sometime so I need to get more ice time if that is going to happen.


Thursday, January 16, 2020

Early Morning Lesson .. Yawn

This morning I had a lesson - rescheduled due to a hockey tournament during my regular time.  I am not a morning person! Of course I was late and it cut into 10 minutes of my lesson, but I still had 20 minutes of helpful coaching!

Big factors I need to work on is POSTURE, UPPER BODY CARRIAGE, SKATING INTO THE ICE AND THREE TURN CONTROL.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Meanwhile over at Chandler Ice Den ...

Today I finally had another chance to skate at Chandler Ice Den.  This is the rink I thought I would skating at more often.  It’s slightly farther away but considerably warmer - as you will see by my ability to strip down to a tee shirt after getting fully warmed up.

It was imperative that I skated today because I have another lesson tomorrow.  I was pretty tired during practice but forced myself to really practice the Hickory Hoedown 4-5 times and I even got my RinkMusic fob to work so I could make a few runs with music.

Dance is really interesting.  On the surface I will admit it sometimes seems boring, skating round and round in specific patterns.  But trying to hold your upper body in dance frame and getting your edges right and proper extension and the correct steps is not easy.  And to anyone who tests or competes in the solo dance series .. hats off to you.  I think it’s really hard to dance alone.  I prefer leaning on a partner!

Today’s video is a bit long.  I tried going through my Moves in the Field and even spit out a few spirals, a waltz jump and a scratch spin at then end of the session.


Friday, January 10, 2020

Another Ice Dance Lesson

My 2nd lesson with Sue Burdick.  Going over the Hickory Hoedown steps and pattern as well as the Willow Waltz.  I would much rather be learning these dances along with a dance partner but until I meet MR RIGHT - I will have to dance alone and test with a coach as a partner.  I’m really not interested in the solo dance testing or competition.  I just don’t think I will ever be able to carry myself well enough alone.

My takeaway from this lesson - especially after seeing the video is I really need to work on my extension and holding a frame position in my upper body.


Monday, January 6, 2020

A New Chapter

Today I started lessons with a new coach in Arizona for ice dance and MIF; Sue Burdick.  We touched on the Hickory Hoedown and she thinks I should test this dance in March!  I think I have a long way to go.