Reagan West is only 17 years old, but she has already achieved her longtime goals in figure skating.
In a first for the Williams Lake Skating Club, Reagan has qualified for gold in all four disciplines of figure skating.
“Nobody’s ever done that in the history of our club,” said Joanne Macnair, Reagan’s longtime coach.
“I really truly love to skate. You can go super fast and you throw yourself up in the air and you get to twirl around look pretty while doing it,” laughed Reagan, when explaining her love for the challenging sport to the Tribune.
With a hockey dad and a figure skater mom, it made sense Reagan was on skates by two years old and started figure skating at a young age as well.
“I really liked it and I wanted the pretty costumes and not the smelly hockey gear,” explained Reagan jokingly. Her mom, Robyn West, made the same assertion, recalling how they tried to put Reagan in ringette when she was young, but she was not interested, though she did do a number of sports until she was a bit older.
When her parents wanted her to focus down after they moved to Williams Lake when Reagan was 10, it was an easy choice for her.
“Instantly, figure skating was what I wanted to do,” said Reagan, noting moving to Williams Lake was a great opportunity for her, because this is where she met Joanne Macnair, who she calls “fantastic.”
“We clicked right away and she just knows how to get me as far as I possibly can,” explained Reagan. “I love Joanne to pieces.”
Mom Robyn West also saw this connection, recalling how Macnair had Reagan doing an axel within a month of working with her.
The coaching and her own hard work have taken Reagan further than many, testing for and completing top level qualifications in all four figure skating disciplines: artistic, free skate, skills, and dance.
Much like martial art or swimming, achieving the top qualification is a long process, testing for the top level in all four of these categories, each one evaluating specific aspects of the sport.
The artistic category involves skating to the music and interpreting the music, free skate involves the jumps and spins which many would associate with higher level figure skating, skills involves the technical foot work, difficult turns and patterns, and dance includes following set patterns with rhythms.
For each one, there are a number of parts to perform in order to qualify for each level. During her final qualification for gold in the category of dance, she had to perform three dances.
To be able to skate at such a high level has required a massive time commitment as well as a lot of discipline over the years, and Reagan skates six days a week, with two skates on one night, she skates seven times a week.
“It’s not a sport that you do if you don’t love it,” said Reagan.
She also went to Penticton to train there for about a month for a number of years. The youngest of three children, her skating was something of a family endeavour, said mom Robyn West, with friends and family members sometimes taking turns to be in Penticton with Reagan, who was the youngest of three children. Her brother Shane was seven years older, and sister Kennedy was nine years older, and Reagan said both are great supporters.
As this is her Grade 12 year, soon, Reagan expects to have a bit more time on her hands, as she will finish off this competition season, enjoying what time she has left with her figure skating friends, which she said feels like a big family.
Reagan plans to head to university in the fall, and while she hasn’t picked one yet she has pre-acceptance to a few, she said.
She still plans to keep at least one foot on the ice by helping a local coach teaching young skaters, something she already does in Williams Lake.
But she also plans to take some time to try other things.
“I think it’s time to start something new,” said Reagan, with anticipation for the next stage of her life, though she also describes herself as a “voracious reader” so likely there will be more of this as well.
“Skating pretty much is who I am, so it’ll be interesting for the future.”
To see Reagan and other Williams Lake Skating Club figure skaters in action, spectators can come down to watch the CNC – Regional competition on Jan. 20, 21, and 22 in Rink 1 at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex in Williams Lake.