A main sport of the season was in full force at the Canada Games Centre Saturday and Sunday with the Yukon Figure Skating Championships, the Arctic Winter Games trials for the sport and Canada 150 Skating Day taking place.
As part of the Canada 150 Skating Day, declared for Dec. 10 by the federal government and Skate Canada, the Arctic Edge Skating Club organized a free two-hour public skate to allow Canadians to participate in one of the country’s
favourite winter pastimes.
The skating day in Whitehorse was one of 17 locations across the country selected to host a public event.
In addition to the public skate, the event featured an exhibition skate by local skaters and Skate Canada coaches were on hand to offer free instruction to beginners as well as pointers and tips for those already gliding along the ice.
Arctic Edge co-chair Stacey Hays said in the second session of the skate following the exhibition, there were about 70 participants on the ice taking part.
From young skaters getting out on the ice for the first time and using skating aids to families out for a leisurely skate to celebrate the activity, the Games Centre rink was filled with energetic and excited skaters.
As a national event, the skating day offered free skate rentals as part of an introduction of community skate banks.
These new skate banks will allow young skaters without equipment the opportunity to take part and have easy access to skates, helmets and other necessary skating equipment.
“We are thrilled to see Canada 150 Skating Day being celebrated in 17 communities across Canada,” Skate Canada CEO Debra Armstrong said in a November news release. “Skating is part of our culture and to see our vibrant Skate Canada Clubs joining in on the Canada 150 celebrations is very special.”
The skating day is one of the final events of the year to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary across the country.
The Arctic Edge Skating Club was on hand organizing the event starting with greeters at the door handing out Canada 150 flags.
They also had a table handing out other Canada 150 accessories such as stickers and cell phone cleaners.
But they also focused on the topic of the day – skating.
They had information and brochures on skating opportunities including the Skate Canada Canskate program, which is the learn-to-skate program for young beginners offered by the skating club.
The program can then allow skaters to advance into specific skating sports such as figure skating, speed skating, ringette, and hockey.
And what would a Canadian celebration be without Tim Hortons?
Free coffee, hot chocolate and Timbits were provided to the skaters on hand for the day’s events.
The skating day was backed on to the end of a busy weekend for the skating club.
Arctic Edge hosted the Golden Nugget Yukon Championships as well as the Arctic Winter Games trials Saturday at the Canada Games Centre.
Figure skating is back in the Games after not being included in the 2016 program in Greenland.
The competition will be divided into four skill levels and not based on age as most of the other sports.
The skating club had trial competitors in three of the four levels, with no entrants in the highest category.
Ten athletes competed for eight eligible spots on the team in the three levels.
Most of the participants also competed in the territory championships in the STAR elements divisions based on fundamental figure skating skills as well as Creative Improv divisions.
These competitions featuring about 21 athletes consisted of a single free skate routine.
The Games trials consisted of both a short and free program, the same setup as the Arctic Winter Games.