A plume of icy mist shot up from the ground Monday as six CSU figure skating team members leaped and landed together on the slick ice rink of the Edora Pool and Ice Center, or EPIC.
â€œItâ€™s pretty exciting. It really gets your blood pumping and itâ€™s a lot of fun,â€ said Collin Kennedy, a sophomore biochemistry and molecular biology major and member of the team in the moments after his performance.
Upwards of 30 CSU students and Fort Collins community members attended the organizationâ€™s Holiday Skate Night â€“â€“ an evening filled with hot chocolate, holiday cookies and a skating exhibition by the team.
The group of six skaters organized the event in hopes of reaching students interested in joining their ranks, said Molly Parsons, a freshman business administration and psychology double major, and vice-president of the team.
â€œWe are one of the smaller figure skating teams in the state, but what we lack in size we make up for in spirit,â€ Parsons said. â€œWe are desperately trying to recruit new figure skaters and hope that featuring events like this will get the word out about our team.â€
The event marks the beginning of the teamâ€™s restructuring. For the past three years, enough interest has been on campus to where a synchronization team can be formed. This year was the first in which a shortage of members forced CSUâ€™s ice skaters to create a figure skating team instead.
Pam Kurtz, a CSU alumna and figure skating team coach with 25 years of experience, estimates 30 individuals on campus as being interested or involved with the sport â€“â€“ information she pulled from involvement fairs the team has taken part in. The newly minted group of five freshmen and two sophomores practices twice a week for an hour and a half at a time, and extra on Sundays before meets, in preparation for three intercollegiate competitions throughout the year: the Tiger Challenge at Colorado College in October, one at Denver University called the Pioneer Challenge in February and another in Anaheim, Calif. for which the team fundraises intensively.
â€œDenver University is the one to beat,â€ said Kurtz in between bouts of cheering for her athletes performing on ice. â€œBut I felt that my team was more ready for the Tiger Open than any other year: I mean, we beat CU.â€
The win over CU-Boulder came despite the fact that every single member on CSUâ€™s figure skating team this year is new â€“â€“ no veterans from last seasonâ€™s group returned.
The athletesâ€™ season culminates in a national qualifying tournament, during which they skate to the best of their ability for enough points to carry them to Delaware, where the national competition is held.
The team believes that the Fort Collins community appreciates figure skating.
â€œThe city of Fort Collins is really supportive of its skating community,â€ said Ashley Plaven, a freshman health and exercise science major and president of CSUâ€™s figure skating team. â€œFor the past 24 years, theyâ€™ve hosted an ice show called Winter Wishes. Itâ€™s really well attended.â€
According to Maureen Brotherton, vice-chair of the Fort Collins Figure Skating Club and owner of Go Figure Skating since 2007, the state of Colorado is â€œbecoming more and more known for figure skating.â€
The cause of the elevated profile is an increase in participation from younger generations who joined largely after becoming excited about 2010â€™s Vancouver Winter Olympics, Brotherton said.
Figure skater Jeremy Abbots was named national champion in 2009 and 2010, and was ranked ninth in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Rachael Flatt was the 2010 national figure skating champion and seventh place finisher at the same Olympic games. Both were raised and trained in Colorado.
â€œWe have a large figure skating community,â€ said Brotherton.
Staff writer Andrew Carrera can be reached at email@example.com.
- E-mail: CSUFigureSkating@gmail.com
- Attend: CSU Figure Skating practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7:30-9 p.m., at EPIC, 1801 Riverside Ave.