Icey fun

Though they may not be ready as soon as 2010 for Vancouver’s Winter Olympics, there are athletes training and practicing even now with their eye on a future that might contain Olympic aspirations at Pelham’s Ice Skating Center at the Civic Complex.

The Civic Complex’s two ice rinks have just been refurbished and the new fall session begins Monday, August 25. Adult and Youth Ice Hockey programs and leagues and public skating sessions are offered, as well as Higher Level Free-Style classes for figure skaters.

If you or your child(ren) would like to experience this sport, Learn To Skate classes for ages 4 to adult are available. “We have skaters who come from all the surrounding cities as well as Atlanta and Mississippi,” says Director/Coach Danny Tate, “and our skating school is the favored choice for pair skaters.” This may be the influence of Birmingham’s John Zimmerman, three-time U.S. Pair Champion, who now skates with Stars on Ice and is married to skater Sylvia Fontana.” Both visit the Pelham facility from time to time and Fontana is currently practicing for her role as Gabriella in the touring Disney musical High School on Ice.

Alabama’s youngest pair skaters, Pelham resident Preston Culpepper, 14, and Carolyn Diehl, 9, of Helena are regulars here training in the early morning hours and practicing together twice weekly in the afternoons. The pair recently passed the test that will allow them to participate in Sectionals competition to be held this November in Sugarland, Texas.

“The discipline and self-motivation that is required to excel in any sport can often be spotted in a child’s personality at an early age,” notes Tate. “Preston and Carolyn have both been skating since the age of four, but I would invite anyone of any age to come and put on a pair of skates and just enjoy the experience and the exercise opportunity offered right here in our excellent facilities!”

To sign up for classes currently forming or more information, call before Labor Day to the Skating Center at 205-620-6448. Instructors are glad to discuss the proper level of instruction appropriate to each individual prospective skater.