Looking to build on the success of its 2018/19 season, Williams Lake Skating Club members are already busy practicing and perfecting their routines for the upcoming season.
Intermediate and Senior skaters began practicing as soon as the ice was installed at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex earlier this month, with CanSkate and Junior Academy to follow beginning Sept. 30.
“We’re full swing with all the programs starting at the end of the month,” said WLSC head coach Joanne Macnair.
Roughly eight of the club’s intermediate and senior skaters currently have their attention focused on their first competition of the year on Oct. 18: Autumn Leaves in Chilliwack.
“Some of them are working on new programs, so that takes some tweaking,” she said. “That competition really comes up fast, and it’s a tough one because it’s down in Vancouver so it’s quite huge. There are a lot of good competitors there who are skating year round. I have a few who go away for a month in the summer who will be going against kids who are skating year round so we’re kind of behind the gun a bit.”
Other competitions planned for the WLSC include the weekend of Nov. 24 in Summerland — the Okanagan Interclub Competition — with around 14 skaters attending.
After that it’s the CNC Regionals in Prince George in January, the Okanagan Regionals in February in Salmon Arm and the year-end Super Series the first week in March in Kelowna.
“We’re looking forward to Autumn Leaves because for some of the kids with new programs they’ll be testing them out for the first time,” Macnair said. “It’s a good start and we go from there.”
When choosing a program to work on, Macnair said she generally selects the music, choreographs the routine and then works with the skater to get their input on how to alter it to fit their style.
“You hope to pick something, or a particular style, that suits how they skate,” she said.
“Everyone’s looking good early on and we’re on the right track.”
One of the club’s senior skaters, Reagan West, is coming off a highly-successful season in 2018/19 and is making a step up in competition this year.
West was crowned the provincial Pond to Podium champion last year in the Star 6/7 division, and has moved up to the Star 8/9 level for 2019/20.
“It’s a big step up for me,” West said, noting one of the biggest challenges will be a requirement to extend her program by 30 seconds.
“It doesn’t seem like a lot of time but when you’re out there you need a lot more conditioning and to make sure you aren’t tired by the end.”
For this season, West said she hopes to continue to improve on her skating skills and to finish in the top 10 at provincials.
The WLSC, meanwhile, is also still accepting registration for its CanSkate and Junior Academy programs.
There will be an open registration scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 21 in the lobby at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Or, registration is available online at www.williamslakeskatingclub.com.
Macnair explained CanSkate is a learn to skate program and tailors to both boys and girls, while Junior Academy is more geared to figure skating as a step into the intermediate division in a group lesson format.
“We’re all looking forward to a good season,” Macnair said. “I’m excited to get going again.”