Skating doesn’t stop for summer |

Skating doesn’t stop for summer

Jason Starr

BRECKENRIDGE – While temperatures reach the mid-80s on the street, Summit County’s young figure skaters are working in the cool environs of the Stephen C. West Ice Arena, preparing for the important summer competition season.

The first summer contest began Thursday and continues this weekend in Vail. Nine skaters from the Summit Figure Skating Club (SFSC) are competing under the eye of three coaches.

“It’s one of the bigger summer competitions,” said Sharon Mancini, parent and co-president of the SFSC. “All the kids look forward to it, and they start working on new programs to present at Vail.”

With the location of the competition – most of the meets the club attends are in Denver or Colorado Springs – the skaters have the luxury of getting in practice sessions at their home rink between events.

Kelly Muth is competing in four events. She was disappointed in her finish Thursday and hopes to do better in today’s artistic program, where she’ll dress as a martial artist and use the musical romp, “Kung-Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglas.

She is skating to win, even though the field includes skaters from powerful clubs in Colorado Springs and Denver and some from out-of-state.

“It’s my same level except they take it a little more seriously than me,” Muth said. “I may be able to win. I’ve seen their artistics at other competitions, and theirs aren’t very strong.”

Summit’s team for the Vail meet ranges in age from 5 to 15. It includes Leah Canfield, Meigan Canfield, Grace Lincenberg, Jessica Mancini, Roxanna Schmidt, Jessica Gisondo, Alanna Gisondo, Mackenzie Bolt and Muth. Coaches Larisa Gendernalik, Kim Lippert, Dawn Ristow and Beth Cherry have been prepping the competitors.

In her first year running the program, Gendernalik has brought about some positive changes. She’s helped recruit the Gisondo sisters, who are new to the club but are its most advanced skaters. She’s installed a mirror along the length of the wall in the upstairs room at the Steve that will be used for off-ice training. And on Thursday, workers were adding a harness along a cable above the west end of the ice. It will act as a belay system for skaters to help them learn the more difficult jumps.

“It allows students to get jumps so much quicker,” said coach Beth Cherry, a former competitor who moved to the county in May and began coaching in June. “You get that extra part of a second in the air.”

The harness also lessens the blow of a fall, and therefore, the fear of falling.

“When I was skating, all the triples I got, I got on the harness first,” Cherry said. “And we have a lot of skaters getting to that point.”

Also, skaters have access to the Breckenridge Recreation Center as part of Gendernalik’s Summer Skating School.

There are about 30 kids in the club who come and go throughout the year. There is a core of about 15.

Jason Starr can be reached at (970) 668-3998 Ext. 231 or at

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