FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – After the restricted skating season last year, figure skaters in Fort St. John are eager for a return to in-person competitions.

For skaters looking to brush up on their skills, the Summer School will go from August 23rd to September 3rd, and the skating season starts shortly after.

With the North Peace Arena getting some maintenance upgrades, the school will go out of the slightly warmer Pomeroy Sport Centre, but Fort St. John Figure Skating Club Coach Jen Hammond says her skaters don’t mind the cold.

“As far as warmth goes, Pomeroy is definitely a lot warmer. But we’ve been skating out of the North Peace Arena pretty much our whole lives, so we’re used to it.”

Hammond says by Christmas, they’re in full swing.

“We generally have one competition before Christmas. After Christmas, we usually have about four or five that the skaters can travel to, so it’s a super busy time for us.”

While figure skating is typically an individual sport, Hammond says skaters feed off the energy of their fellow competitors.

She admits the parents enjoyed saving time and money travelling to competitions, but the extra time and effort needed to put together a virtual competition was something she’ll be happy to leave behind.

“From the skater’s perspective, and coaches, we really enjoy travelling to those competitions just to feel the energy of the other competitors. Sure, there’s all the nerves that still go with it, but the excitement of travelling and everything that comes with competing is what we were really missing last year.”

Hammond says the club is always looking for great coaches, especially skaters who have gone through the program themselves.

“For our CanSkate program, we rely on a lot of the skaters in our club. The older skaters are program assistants, so they put in volunteer time throughout the season to help us coaches run the program. Without them, we just wouldn’t be able to do it because there’d be too many skaters out there for us.”

Hammond says it’s great to have that leadership for the younger kids to look up to.

“You never know where you’re going to find a role model, and I think it gives those young girls some perspective on how they can be better themselves by coaching.”

For more information on Summer School registration, go to the Fort St. John Figure Skating Club on Facebook.