Go big or go home.
That was the Innisfail Skating Club’s attitude for their most recent skating development clinic which saw 72 skaters from across central Alberta take part.
However, it wasn’t the size that made it a must-attend event but rather the experience to get to learn from an impressive lineup of coaches they brought in for the day.
Most notable was three-time Olympic medalist Kaetlyn Osmond as well as Ice Palace Skating Club’s Jessica Gosse, Calalta Figure Skating Club national coach Tyler Myles, Hunting Hills Skating Club national coach Tammy Schmidt, and dance pair from Calalta Figure Skating Club William Oddson and Marianne Hubert. All of the coaches have been involved in skating for decades and some of them have coached for at least 20 years.
The 72 skaters were split into three groups and got to learn from each coach in four sessions both on and off the ice during the event on Nov. 19. Those who took part in the clinic their age ranged from seven years old all the way to 23 years old.
Special Events Coordinator for the Innisfail Skating Club, Nadine Korsiger said they’ve organized many clinics but nothing to this calibre.
“This clinic focused on every aspect of StarSkate Figure Skating. Every element that these skaters would cover no matter what level… It covered everything that they would need to cover,” she said. “Of course, it’s not going to turn them into Olympic athletes, but it’s going to give them a piece of that every element in one day.”
“I’m getting feedback from coaches from clubs, from skaters, from parents saying they wish we could have more of these in central Alberta … Calgary and Edmonton get more of these types of activities than we do because they have bigger clubs.”
Central Alberta, she said, needs these types of events because if not, skaters have to travel long distances to do so.
Korsiger, who is retiring from the club after 12 years on the board, said since it’s her last season, she wanted to go out with a bang. After organizing many clinics over the years she decided to reach out to some big names in the industry to see if they’d be interested.
“I thought if I could get any of the high-level competitors to say yes, I’m rolling with it. They were so happy to come here it was amazing how quickly they said yes. If they looked on their calendar and they had the day free they were saying yes and that to me was amazing,” Korsiger added.
“It was a win on all parts. It was a win as a club hosting some of this magnitude and it was a win for the skaters and the guest skaters. I had unprompted emails from every single one of them after the fact saying they loved every minute of coaching these skaters. It’s because they had their focus because they were learning… We couldn’t have asked for a better day.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions that came with it many of the skaters haven’t been able to compete much and at one point couldn’t even skate. Bringing in an event like this after the pandemic she said boosted a lot of their spirits.
“We got more out of it than we expected to tell you the truth,” she said. “When my daughter came home and said the things she said at 19 I thought she’d be like yeah it’s another clinic but not it wasn’t … For her to say it’s the best one she’s ever been to I was flattered because it was her mom who planned it but it was more that she’s been to 20 – 25 clinics in 12 years.”
“This one was her best one so to me that’s hats off to those coaches and those guest skaters we brought in because they obviously showed her things she didn’t know.”