Sun Valley, Idaho May Be a Figure Skater’s Dream Come True
By Jo Ann Schneider Farris
Sun Valley, Idaho, for many figure skaters, has been called a figure skater’s paradise. Founded in 1936, the resort is called by some as an “American Shangri-La.” “Sun Valley” got its name because it gets about 250 days of sunshine every year.
For those who have never been there, Sun Valley, in addition to being a vacation spot for skiers in the winter and those who like to hike, play tennis, golf, raft, kayak, swim, and ride bikes in the summer, is also an ideal vacation spot for ice skaters who wish to include skating into their vacation plans.
Sun Valley’s outdoor ice rink is one of the few outdoor ice rinks in the world that is open year-round. Figure skaters who skate on the outdoor ice sheet find that they love performing in front of the audiences that watch the skaters practice while they eat lunch or drink cocktails in front of the outdoor arena.
The Sun Valley Summer Championships brings skaters and their coaches to Sun Valley annually. The compeitition takes place in the indoor arena during July. My brother, Billy Schneider, and his wife, Amy, have taken skaters to Sun Valley for the past twelve summers especially for that event. Recently, I chatted with both of them about why going to Sun Valley for the summer competition is a priority for their skaters.
Billy and Amy told me the following about how Sun Valley helps their students:
“The competition offers something for every level skater from beginner through the Senior levels. They offer IJS and 6.0 events on the indoor rink, and even have a Showcase event on the outdoor rink which is a highlight for some skaters, offering the best of both worlds. The families enjoy the beautiful setting and all that the resort offers for activities, and the skaters get great competitive as well as performance experience.”
Every summer, adult figure skaters also congregate in Sun Valley for a summer skating camp. They say that the fresh air in Sun Valley is “magical.”
Private skating lessons for all skating levels and plenty of ice time especially for figure skaters is available year-round in Sun Valley on both the indoor and outdoor ice sheets.
Coleen Chase owns a home in Sun Valley. She tells me that her daughter, Abby, can walk, ride her bike, (or even cross country ski) to the ice skating rink, and that Sun Valley residents are all active people that enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
Professional skating celebrities such as Olympic figure skating champions Kristi Yamaguchi and Katarina Witt have visited Sun Valley, making it possible for skaters who visit to not only see the very best figure skaters in the world skate and perform in Sun Valley, but to also learn from them. Sun Valley may truly be an ice skater’s dream and paradise. I hope I can take a trip there soon!
Jo Ann Schneider Farris has written hundreds of articles about skating. Her articles have been published in SKATING Magazine, The Professional Skater, Recreational Ice Skating, and have been included in US Figure Skating Online, icenetwork.com, Examiner.com, and About.com. She has been About.com’s Guide to Figure Skating since 2006. In 2010, Jo Ann represented About.com at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. She has been a competitive skater and skating coach, and has directed both Ice Skating Institute and U.S. Figure Skating programs. In addition, her own three children are competitive figure skaters who have competed multiple times in both pair skating and ice dancing at the regional, sectional, and junior national levels. In addition, Jo Ann is the author of How to Jump and Spin on Inline Skates. She is a member of U.S. Figure Skating, Ice Skating Institute, the Professional Skaters Association, and the Broadmoor Skating Club.