Ice time is a nice time

Juneau Skating Club closes out season with unexpected growth

Posted: Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Though it's only been around since January of last year, skating instructor Beth Rhoden is astounded by the growth of Juneau Skating Club.

In it second season, which concluded with a recital on April 24, Rhoden estimates nearly 500 people came down to Treadwell Arena to learn how to skate or get involved in figure skating.

"When we first started the program we wondered how many adult classes to offer," Rhoden said. "We just had one, but so many adults signed up we ended up offering five adult classes. We were really surprised by the number of adults interested, the kids we expected because of kids and sports. We were, and continue to be, stunned by the number of adults wanting to skate."

Since Juneau has only had a rink for a couple years, sports on ice have started to take off locally.

Whether its hockey or figure skating, Rhoden believes the ice gives people another avenue to be athletic and try something new.

"I just think people in Juneau are hungry for something like this," Rhoden said. "The number of people on Twin Lakes is incredible, but you only get a handful of days to do that. People have really been flocking to this rink. I completely applaud whoever pushed for this because its been a huge success."

The JSC offers classes for those just learning to skate and for experienced skaters wanting to try something new.

The club is affiliated with the United States Figures Skating Association and offers programs to help people become stronger on the ice.

It also has a synchronized skating team, in which multiple athletes skate to a routine and features skaters weaving in and out of lines and doing formations.

"It turned out to be the biggest hit, next to the little kids," Rhoden said. "We didn't realize it would be such a big deal."

The JSC has 12 instructors, with teachers from Anchorage, Fairbanks, New York City, Dartmouth University and Bowling Green.

With the growth of the skating club, Rhoden hopes to have competitions and traveling teams in the next few years.

"We have lot of great ideas for the next five years," Rhoden said. "Number one, I'd like to see the kids start to compete. We have a lot of education to do in Juneau with figure skating. They don't understand the time or financial commitment yet. Number one, educate Juneau about what it takes then, number two, have them compete and o show and traveling and see how it goes."

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