Kids conquer the ice

Published 12:02 pm Monday, December 8, 2008

A huge treat for those attending Pelham’s tree lighting each year is watching skaters work their magic on the ice.

These devoted athletes practice so hard but make iceskating look easy. It looks easy that is until we lace up our own skates and find that our ankles don’t possess the magic metal that belongs to the students of the Pelham Skate School and the Birmingham Figure Skating Club.

How does one develop grace and skill on the ice?

As skating school employee Kristen Hipolito explains, “Pelham Skate School consists of our ‘learn to skate’ classes. As students continue taking classes and begin to compete, they become members of the Birmingham Figure Skating Club.”

Competitive figure skaters are definitely at the height of their season. On Monday, Dec. 1, the skaters gave breathtaking performances at the city’s tree lighting ceremony. Almost before the applause ceased, the skaters were preparing for their annual holiday performance, “Winter Wonderland on Ice,” which took place this past weekend.

Skate School Director Danny Tate enjoys working with this especially talented and delightful group of skaters. He said the skaters worked so well together and are very encouraging of their teammates.

“Among this group of kids, camaraderie is wonderful,” Tate said. “They’re an especially supportive group.”

Danny explained that skaters from Atlanta, Huntsville, Kentucky, Pensacola and Pelham, regularly share the ice at Pelham Skate School. Growing up as a competitive figure skater, Danny relocated from Huntsville to Pelham in 1997 when the Pelham Civic Complex opened. He began and developed Pelham’s skate school.

A devoted coach, Danny regularly spends long days working with his students.

“My goal is not only to build good, solid athletes, but also to develop strong character,” he said.

Recreational ice skating occurs daily at the Pelham Civic Complex. Kids report that one of the first skills they learn is how to fall and how to get up quickly — invaluable knowledge for anyone on the ice! Group classes have weekly sessions lasting for six weeks. New sessions begin the week of Jan. 5. If you would like to conquer the ice this year, contact Pelham Skate School at 620-6448.