According to the coaches of the Nelson Figure Skating Club, you have to be exceedingly tough to excel in their sport. Aspiring skaters must routinely hurl their bodies gracefully into the air, which inevitably entails them making forceful impacts with the ice. But thanks to a series of generous community contributions, the club now has a newly installed skating harness that will help cushion their charges’ falls.
“This has been a really big project for this club. It’s been a long time coming,” said club president Charmaine Sabo at a plaque presentation for the project last week. She noted that some of the funds were raised by the skaters themselves, while other contributions came from organizations in the local community.
Coach Sarah Gower was effusive about the new piece of equipment.
“It’s a really good tool for skaters to do jumps in an environment that’s not as scary as when they’re unsupported. Figure skaters have to be really tough. They have to do thousands of jumps before they can do double jumps, and this way they don’t have to fall as many times to achieve the same thing.”
Coach Yoshie Measures, who was assisting 17-year-old skater Christina Champlin with her jumps that afternoon, said the harness is so effective it can help skaters of all ages. Recently she helped one of their skaters, a 59-year-old, complete a double axel for the first time.
“Basically it helps the fear factor. Her goal was to learn how to do an axel, and sure enough she landed it and after she took off the harness she landed it again a couple times. That was awesome.”
Gower said she’s extremely grateful for the community’s contribution, especially since the club’s current numbers are low.
“It’s an expensive purchase to make for a small club in a small town, and it’s hard to get committed members because it’s such a difficult sport. We’re just so grateful the community donated that money to the club.”
For more information on Nelson Figure Skating visit nelsonfigureskatingclub.ca.