As the Columbus Ice Rink celebrates its second birthday this month, the newly formed Chattahoochee Valley Figure Skating Club offers lessons and competition opportunities for local skaters.
The club, part of the Columbus Hockey Association, welcomes those of all ages from beginner through alpha levels, as recognized by the Ice Skating Institute.
Instructors Claire Mincer and Naomi Wainwright say members don't need any formal figure skating training but should know how to skate before joining.
For those who struggle to stay upright on skates but have dreams of executing Dorothy Hamill-style spins and jumps, a good starting point is the Learn to Skate series of classes. Each session has six classes and costs $75. Learn when the next series begins at columbushockey.org or by emailing Brad at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For kids, several skating camps will be offered this summer. Look for updated information at columbusicerink.org.
Once skaters have mastered basic skating techniques, they may try a Figure Skating for Beginners class for free before registering for a series of classes.
Classes are focused on teaching the fundamentals of figure skating, compulsory skills and creating performances to music. Individual and group performances are practiced.
Although males and females of all ages are welcome, the current class is dominated by girls ages 5 to 12.
So far, the girls are looking forward to learning jumps.
"It's exciting watching them learn everything they need to do to land a jump," Naomi says.
The young skaters quickly learn how much practice and patience is needed before spins and jumps can be executed.
"There's nothing better than learning a new skill and finally, finally mastering it," Claire says. The Tennessee native and Auburn University junior is enjoying sharing the knowledge she's gained in her 10 years of skating.
Texas-raised Naomi was pleased to learn about the opening of the Columbus Ice Rink when her U.S. Army husband got his orders to report to Fort Benning in the summer of 2011.
"It's an awesome facility," she says.
She's been ice skating for nine years and was coaching a roller derby team in Texas before moving.
"I love helping people," Naomi says, explaining that she experiences a sense of pride when a student learns a new move.
She's optimistic about the future of the club and hopes people will take advantage of the chance to discover figure skating even if they don't have Kristi Yamaguchi's talent.
"It's great fun, and it's a good workout," she says.
What: The Columbus Ice rink is a 38,122 square foot facility with a single NHL regulation-sized ice surface. The facility features a state-of-the-art Bose Sound System, private VIP area overlooking the rink, a spacious lobby, Pro Shop, and Snack Bar. Public skating sessions cost $7 for adults and $5 for kids, 10 and younger. Skate rentals cost $3. Group discounts are available as are party packages for birthdays and events.
Where: 400 Fourth Street, next to the Columbus Civic Center.
When: Check out times and dates of public skating sessions and lessons at columbusicerink.org