National Skating Month 2009

Cleveland-area SkateFests

Fourteen SkateFests, featuring autograph sessions, special appearances by U.S. Championships competitors, open skating and free public lessons, will take place in the Cleveland area in conjunction with the 2009 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships to celebrate National Skating Month. These events will be held Saturday, Jan. 24 at various clubs throughout the city.
The John Rose Memorial Oval, Roseville, Minn.
The John Rose Memorial Oval in Roseville, Minn., held an event called "Ice Jam" on Jan. 10. This event was held in conjunction with the figure skating, hockey, bandy and curling clubs in the Twin Cities as well as the Friends of the Oval group. It included a "chili cook-off," in which each user group (figure skating, hockey, etc.) made chili. For $5, attendees purchased a bowl and sampled as many of the chilies as they wanted, and then voted for their favorite. Hockey organized a mite tournament, and each user group set up a display with information about their sport. Download the Ice Jam promotional flyer (PDF) to learn more.

Suburban Ice Macomb and Onyx-Rochester Ice Arena, Mich.
Throughout January, Suburban Ice-Macomb and the Onyx-Rochester Ice Arena will offer Basic Skills members a free open skate for a friend, as well as open houses for Michigan home-school organizations and pre-K and Montessori schools.

Suburban Ice East Lansing, East Lansing, Mich.
Suburban Ice East Lansing's National Skating Month Open House was a huge success. "It was the biggest turn out we've ever had!" said Mo Parisian, skating director at Suburban's East Lansing location. More than 200 people showed up for the free ice festivities and U.S. Figure Skating merchandise. The rink raffled off hats, t-shirts and free learn-to-skate sessions. The Lansing Skating Club joined in by handing out information and showing off the history of figure skaters from the area. The club also gave away embroidered t-shirts, cd holders, pencils, backpacks, water bottle holders and sweatshirts. The lobby was packed, and the excitement was contagious.

Learn to Skate Cincinnati, Sports Plus, Evendale, Cincinnati
Learn to Skate Cincinnati will provide free lessons Friday, Jan. 2 at Sports Plus in Evendale in celebration of National Skating Month. Snowplow Sam, the U.S. Figure Skating mascot, will make an appearance and distribute gifts. More information and registration details can be found in an article on the The Western Star web site.

"Great Skate" Open House, Honnen Ice Arena, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Honnen Ice Arena will host its "Great Skate" Open House Saturday, Jan. 3 from 5-7 p.m. The event will feature free skating, rentals and lessons, as well as registration information for the next session of lessons. The Chick-fil-A cow will also make an appearance and skate with the kids. Download the promotional flyer (PDF) to learn more.

Dane County Learn to Skate, Eagles Nest Arena, Verona, Wis.
Dane County learn-to-skate program held its first of three National Skating Month events, which more than 200 people attended. At one end of the rink, there were free open skating and games - including soccer, ring toss, hockey shoot the puck and a Hula Hoop toss - in which kids earned prizes. The free pizza was a hit and didn't last long, and the skating exhibition was a success. The day also included a raffle of U.S. Figure Skating T-shirts and hats, and a Snowplow Sam coloring contest. Download the promotional flyer.

Rinks across northeast Ohio
An article on the The Plain Dealer web site lists a number of skating events taking place this winter in northeast Ohio.

IcelandUSA Skating Academy, Lakewood, Ohio
IcelandUSA Skating Academy will begin its month-long celebration on Jan. 5 with a free open house session, games and a free spin of the IceLandUSA prize wheel. Prizes include free food from our café, and the grand prize is a free lesson with Tonia Kwiatkowski. More than 100 people are expected to attend the open house. The celebration will continue throughout the month, at the end of which we will hold a drawing for a free session of lessons.

Great Falls FSC, Great Falls, Mont.
U.S. Figure Skating Director of Athlete Performance Enhancement and Tracking Kathy Casey was in her hometown of Great Falls, Mont., over the holidays giving free lessons to 100 local skaters. The local CBS affiliate, KTVQ, reported on the story.

Hobart Arena, Troy, Ohio
On a snowy and icy night, 308 people showed up at Hobart Arena for free ice time and skate rentals at "It's Great to Skate" night.

Bellingham SportsPlex Skating Academy, Bellingham, Wash.
The Bellingham SportsPlex Skating Academy held an open house on Jan. 9. The evening started with an exhibition by the Bellingham FSC's synchronized skating team, the Northern Lights, which was followed by a Mite (ages 6-9) hockey exhibition game involving the Whatcom Warriors and the Bellingham Sportsplex Hockey Academy "Learn to Play" hockey class. A free public skate was held for the community.

Gold Coast Arena, Wall Township, N.J.
Faryn Pearl and Lauren Lechner organized a free "National Skating Day" on Jan. 3 at the Gold Coast Arena in Wall Township, N.J., for their Girl Scout Gold Award project. More than 700 people participated in the day's festivities, which included two separate free hours of learn-to-skate lessons and a free public skate session with free skate rentals. There were also information sessions on topics like "A Parents' Guide to Skating," and information on hockey and synchronized skating was also distributed. Read all about this event on the Independent's and Asbury Park Press' web sites.

Center Ice Sports Complex, North Canton, Ohio
The Center Ice Sports Complex held its National Skating Month event Jan 4. More than 300 people showed up for the 1 1/2-hour event. Instructors gave mini-lessons, Basic Skills class discount coupons were distributed, and 35 new Basic Skills members were registered. In addition, the rink gave away two free seven-week sessions as well as public skate passes, scarves, blankets, skating ornaments, hats and T-shirts.

Northfield Skating School, Northfield, Minn.
The Northfield Skating School co-hosted a National Skating Month event with the Carleton College Alumni Association on Jan. 15. The activities included open skating with disco lights and music, instructors giving informal lessons at center ice, and skaters, coaches and local professional skaters giving demonstrations and putting on exhibitions. Carey Tinkelenberg, the founder and executive director of the Northfield Skating School as well as a former national synchronized skating competitor, even took to the ice at the urging of the kids.

St. Cloud Figure Skating Club, St. Cloud, Minn.
The St. Cloud Figure Skating Club will host "Rock on for Skating" as part of National Skating Month in January at the Municipal Athletic Complex (MAC) in St. Cloud. The program will take place Monday, Jan. 19 and Monday, Jan. 26.

Farmington Hills Ice Arena, Farmington, Hills, Mich.
The Farmington Hills Ice Arena brought in Alex Patterson and Dave Rondot from the Wolverines Speedskating Club to give a demo and skate along with attendees to its National Skating Month event. Patterson and Rondot also brought a video that was played in the lobby during the event. Almost 250 people took part in the day despite a forecast that included 3-6 inches of snow expected.

FSC of Omaha, Omaha, Neb.
The Figure Skating Club of Omaha in Omaha, Neb., held a National Skating Month "Winter Carnival Celebration" on Jan. 10. The event was held in conjuction with the City of Omaha Parks and Recreation Department. The carnival celebration included a hot dog dinner, cotton candy, two hours of ice skating, raffles, a clown, U.S. Figure Skating merchandise giveaways and a DJ. More than 220 skaters, family and friends enjoyed the festivities.

Eastern Iowa Figure Skating Club, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
The Eastern Iowa Figure Skating Club in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, celebrated National Skating Month on Jan. 10. Free skating was offered to the public from 2-5 p.m. Coaches were available for three 20-minute lessons during the session. Attendees played games and colored, and there were drawings for prizes. At the top of every hour, the club's skaters performed an exhibition.

Mt. Pleasant FSC, Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
The Mt. Pleasant FSC hosted its annual "Family Skate Night" on Friday, Jan. 23. With the help of many club volunteers and instructors, more than 230 people participated, ranging in age from 18 months to adult. More than 2,000 fliers went out to local schools and Basic Skills program participants. The Mt. Pleasant FSC hosted free skating and provided a game area, food, U.S. Figure Skating merchandise, prizes and free Basic Skills lessons to participants.

Richmond Ice Zone, Richmond, Va.
The Richmond Skating Stars and Richmond Ice Zone hosted free beginners classes Wednesday, Jan. 21 and Friday, Jan. 23. More than 400 skaters attended, a record for the events. Each person in attendance received a goody bag with information about lessons and other programs. Skaters spent time off the ice learning the basics of falling and marching. They were then treated to exhibitions by figure skaters, hockey players, speed skaters and a synchronized skating team. After the exhibitions, skaters went on the ice for a 30-minute lesson. Members of the Central Virginia Skating Club were also available to answer questions and help on the ice. After the lesson, free group lessons and public session passes were given away during the free skate.

Grand Teton Skating Academy, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
The Grand Teton Skating Academy held its first-ever Skate-A-Thon on Jan. 17. The event allowed local youth groups to fundraise by obtaining pledges of support for their participation. The free event included a live DJ playing classic rink music, food, raffles, door prizes and, of course, skating. The GTSA is also sponsoring free family fun skating events, including free Basic Skills classes at Owen-Bircher Park in Wilson, Wyo., until Feb. 5.

Spokane FSC, Spokane, Wash.
The Spokane Figure Skating Club partnered with the neighboring Lilac City Figure Skating Club to host the 2009 National Skating Month (NSM) event at Spokane's Riverfront Park Ice Palace on Saturday, Jan. 10. The event was spotlighted by skating exhibitions from several local skaters from both clubs. The event was written up in Spokesman Review (PDF) and covered by two local TV stations. Many area residents took to the ice during the public skating session, including Spokane Mayor Mary Verner, who took advantage of the free skating lessons offered by club members. Parents and spectators received information and free skating goodies to let them know more about programs offered through the local figure skating clubs and U.S. Figure Skating.

Aerodrome Ice Skating Complex, Houston, Texas
The Aerodrome had 437 new skaters at its National Skating Month public session, which was followed by a youth in-house hockey game. Coach Cathy Hockman led free lessons for more than 50 kids! The Aeros hockey team mascot, Chilly, skated and led games like a Hula Hoop contest. Free raffles were held all day long, and such items as an autographed Aeros jersey and an autographed skate by Junior Grand Prix Final champion Becky Bereswill were given away. Bereswill performed an exhibition, as did the U.S. champion Theater on Ice junior team, introductory TOI team and Special Olympian Marissa Castillon. Another fun event was the "Chuck a Puck," which raised money for the Star Skaters Foundation. Finally, the Starz of Houston FSC held a successful used dress and skate sale.

Swonder Ice Arena, Evansville, Ind.
Swonder Ice Arena's National Skating Month 2009 activities received advance coverage from the Evansville Courier & Press, FOX 7, News 25 and American Classifieds. Approximately 300 people attended the free skating lessons Saturday morning, and there was free admission to the 1 p.m. public session. "Give Our Regards to Broadway," Swonder's 2009 ice show, was a huge success. More than 650 spectators came to watch the Saturday and Sunday shows. The Swonder Ice Arena Starz, the rink's open juvenile synchronized skating team, performed their competition routine during intermission of the show. At Sunday's Girl Scout skate, Swonder's instructors helped more than 100 Girl Scouts and Brownies earn their ice skating badge by teaching two sets of 30-minute group lessons.

City of Kettering, Kettering, Ohio
The city of Kettering hosted its sixth annual National Skating Month "Absolutely Free" clinic Jan. 23. In all, 153 participants, both children and adults, and 10 instructors and assistants came out for the event. Many of the participants inquired about the local Basic Skills program.

Newbridge Arena, Bellmore, N.Y.
Two events were held at the Newbridge Arena as part of National Skating Month. On Saturday, Jan. 3, the public was invited to celebrate the arena's skaters who have had success on the national or sectional level. Performing for about 200 people were senior man Michael Quadrino, novice dance team Ashley Halstead and Robert Knopf, intermediate pairs team Brooke Demetri and Michael Chang, and intermediate lady Amelia Xu. The arena also held an "I Love Skating Day" on Jan. 19. This program brought together freestyle skaters as hosts to a group of pre-schoolers. The day included a bagel breakfast, story time (during which the children got to meet Anastasia Gromova, the subject of the book I Love Skating), a mini showcase and an on-ice, learn-to-skate clinic.

BC Winter Club, Vestal, N.Y.
Forty new skaters, 36 club members and many parents turned out for the BC Winter Club's first National Skating Month event Jan. 25 at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton, N.Y. The program included skating demonstrations, free group lessons and free skate time. T-shirts, hats, a DVD player, a quilt and balloon bouquets were given as door prizes. The highlight of the day was the Cornell University synchronized skating team's performance of their Edward Scissorhands program. Each National Skating Month participant received a certificate and goodie bag.

Pettit National Ice Center, Milwaukee, Wis.
The Pettit National Ice Center, a U.S Olympic Training Site, will play host to the fifth annual "Skate with the Mascots" on Saturday, Feb. 28. Mascots from around the state, as well as some national favorites, will be on hand from 1-4 p.m. during the Pettit Center's public skating session. Several mascots will also compete in unique "Mascot Olympics" competitions. Some of the mascots who will be in attendance are McGruff the Crime Dog, the Milwaukee Admirals' Roscoe, Klement's Racing Sausages, the Milwaukee Wave's Brad Beach, and Time Warner Cable's Digital Phone, Digital Cable and Road Runner High Speed. For more information, please contact Rob Multerer at 414.266.0100, ext. 132 or by e-mail at

Tri-County Arena, Neenah, Wis.
Tri-County Arena held its "It's Great to Skate" event on Jan. 4. The day began with a Basic Skills "Bring a Friend" event, in which current Basic Skills skaters led their friends through a fun-filled lesson. Participants received information about classes and U.S. Figure Skating, goodies from the "It's Great To Skate" package and a free public skating pass to be used another day. In the afternoon a free public skating session was held and a broomball demonstration was given. The day concluded with demonstrations by the Valley Figure Skating Club and Appleton Inspiration synchronized skating team.

Kingsgate Arena, Kirkland Wash.
The Kingsgate Arena in Kirkland, Wash., offered free skating for the entire family Friday, Jan. 2 from 4-7 p.m. The city of Woodinville Fire Department sold safety helmets at a discount. Kingsgate Basic Skills staff offered two free introductory classes. Four sessions of lessons were raffled off, and U.S. Figure Skating postcards and pencils were distributed to all who attended. The estimated participation was 360 people, which exceeded that of the arena's annual "Santa Skate."