Sunday, August 20, 2017

Northbrook Gears Up for Summer Sports Training

March 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Featured Articles

It’s always an adventure at the Northbrook Park District. Between the Winter Carnival, Daddy-Daughter Dance, Spring Bunny Trail, Kids’ Fishing Derby, Park Fest Concerts, Liberty Loop 5K, Rock the Green, Kids’ Duathlon, Touch-A-Truck, Northbrook Autumnfest, Northbrook’s Talent Showdown, Breakfast with Santa and Gingerbread Workshop, Northbrook heats things up all year long. Their figure skating program stands out among the area’s best. We talked with Heather Aseltine about what’s new for summer at the Northbrook Park District.

IT: Tell us about the skating school program at Northbrook Sports Center (for class skaters)

HA:The ISI-based Northbrook Skating School has provided high-quality instruction, recreational fun and competitive opportunities for skaters of all ages and levels for more than 40 years. Serving more than 800 skaters, our classes are packed with eager participants working on developing their skating fundamentals. The program welcomes children as young as 3 and also offers adult instruction, under the direction of Laila Schlesinger, honored as Skating Director of the Year by the ISI in 2009. Unique to the area, our school also serves more than 70 upper-level skaters (Freestyle 5 and up), many of whom continue class participation until graduating from high school.

IT:  Northbrook has long been an area destination for high level competitive figure skaters. What about Northbrook appeals to these skaters?

HA: A solid skating school structure has produced many elite athletes at the facility. Our approach to “everything under one roof” allows skaters to complete all of their training in one location. In addition, the Sports Center offers specialized on- and off-ice classes, training equipment, and freestyle ice time. The clean, well-run facility offers two year-round NHL-sized ice rinks and a great training environment to those in the community and surrounding area.

IT: What types of classes, on ice or off, do you offer for competitive skaters?

HAEach season, the Northbrook Sports Center offers an abundance of classes, both on- and off-ice, to assist with the training of our skaters, depending on their level and specialization. We offer on-ice classes throughout the year, allowing skaters the ability to customize a program specific to their interests. Classes include standard Freestyle or lower level skating, Moves in the Field, Ice Dancing, Axel, Just Spins, Synchro Skills and Adult Instruction. Off-ice classes vary each season and typically include Pilates, Dance Expressions, Off-Ice Jump Technique, TAPS (Total Athlete Performance Seminars) and Focus on Fitness.

IT: What is a typical day like at Northbrook Park District? What do you offer besides skating?

HA: A typical day at the Park District includes something for everyone, from early childhood programs through Senior Center activities, and active as well as passive recreation.The Northbrook Park District manages more than 500 acres of land in 21 park areas and provides a wide variety of indoor and outdoor opportunities, year-round. In addition to ice skating, major recreational programs include preschool, child care before and after school, visual arts, theatre and performing arts, fitness, summer camps, aquatics, golf, adult/senior activities, parties, sports leagues and athletic programs. The Park District offers swimming pools, tennis courts, indoor and outdoor ice skating rinks, ball fields, turf fields for soccer or lacrosse, cross-country ski areas, a Teams Challenge Course and climbing wall, sled hills, batting cages, an outdoor skate park, fishing lakes, walking trails, picnic areas, theatres, golf courses (36 holes), a practice range, pro shop, mini-golf course, velodrome bicycle racing, and sand volleyball courts.

IT: Another Northbrook on Ice is coming up. It’s always a very good and elaborate production. What can we expect from the show this year?

HA: Northbrook-On-Ice just won the 2012 Outstanding Special Event Award from the Illinois Park and Recreation Association, so the staff and skaters are excited to continue the tradition and add new elements for the 44th year of the production.  This year’s show is a spin on social media, called “In the Loop!” The storyline will take spectators through segments about family, friends, life milestones, status updates, employment and school groups with a variety of numbers, featuring skaters of all ages and levels. All three teams from the high-level Icette dance program and all four of the award-winning Teams Elite (synchronized skating) teams will perform during the weekend. Skaters in the program known as SPICE (Special Persons Ice Skating Experience) will join the production this year to share the experience of performing before a large crowd. Several thousand spectators are expected to attend Northbrook-On-Ice, many of them continuing a tradition they enjoyed while growing up.   With its professional approach, passion for tradition, attention to detail and pursuit of excellence, Northbrook-On-Ice is considered one of the strongest amateur ice productions in the country and continues to grow each year, pushing the boundaries of typical ice shows and captivating skaters, their families and audiences with an enduring loyalty.

IT: What makes Northbrook’s skating program different from other area rinks?

HA: The Northbrook Sports Center’s skating program has reached an elite level of excellence which sets it apart from many arenas across the nation. A staff dedication to high standards helps develop skaters’ fundamental skills, which allow the athletes to blossom into well-rounded skaters. By enhancing our skating school instruction, we allow our other programs to flourish, due to the strength of the athletes.

During the summer months, our facility is busy with two summer programs. Our Skate & Dance Camp offers daily skating instruction, practice time and an off-ice dance class five days per week for eight weeks. The camp day includes arts and crafts, theme lunch days, open swim and two field trips per session. Our Getting the Edge Summer Training Program, available to skaters Freestyle 1 and up, offers 90 minutes of freestyle ice, 1 on-ice specialty class and 3 off-ice training classes. Skaters are supervised during the program (2 or 4 days per week for eight weeks) from 8:35am-2pm. The facility also offers freestyle ice from 7am-6:10pm for skaters who want to customize their training programs each day.

IT: What do you want skaters to take away from the time they spend training at Northbrook?

HA: While training at the Northbrook Sports Center, skaters not only fine-tune their technique and develop their strength in the sport, but they also learn many life skills, from time management and work ethic to teamwork and leadership. Skaters gain confidence, discipline and friendship. We want them to enjoy their training, learn to set and accomplish goals, and recognize the results of practice and hard work. The relationships skaters develop in our facility can last a lifetime as they share a sport and a passion.

-Nicolette House

Heather Aseltine is the  Leisure Services Supervisor for the Northbrook Sports Center.She is a Northbrook Staff Instructor. Heather has her Golds in Moves and Freestyle, passed her ISI Freestyle 10 test, and was the 2002 National Collegiate Figure Skating Champion (University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana). She was a Northbrook Icette from 1999-2002 and was inducted into the Northbrook Hall of Fame in 2013.


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