Snow Valley Figure Skating Club
(Snow Valley Skating Club)
Kitimat resident Olive Seminuk got the first skaters on the ice in 1964. A year later, the Snow Valley Figure Skating Club was formed with Carol Likness as the Club’s first coach. Kitimat resident James E. Cox was one of the Club’s first executive and later became a judge for Test Days and the annual Interclub Competition. Annual membership for the season, September to March, cost $20. Skaters would purchase two pairs of skates as the skates would be sharpened differently – one pair for figures and one pair for free skate. Skaters would begin at age 2 or 3 and continue to 18 years within the Club.
Carnival / Ice Show
The Kinsman Club produced the first Carnival, later named the Ice Show, which occurred at the end of each skating season, first at Kitimat Ice Rink (KIR) and later at Tamitik Jubilee Sports Complex. The Kinsman Club made the first costumes for the Carnival, and then the parents of the skaters took over. A theme was chosen and a comedy routine often occurred. In the first year Joyce Cox was the hind end of the bull and Mr. Munson the local pharmacist was the matador.
Competition and Coaching
The Cox children Orin and Naida skated competitively, and Orin later became a Club coach. Club members would often become coaches after passing the national coaching instruction testing to qualify. Generation after generation of Kitimat families enrolled their children, contributing to the Club’s continuation.
Early team sweaters were made by a Terrace woman on her knitting machine. Skaters would sew their badges to their sweaters down the arms. The Club used the national testing system for badges. In competition, judges and dance partners were often flown in. Three levels of competition occurred annually – local, regional, and provincial. Provincials included BC Winter Games and the eight zones within BC. Klahowya Interclub was the regional competition as well as the CNCR (Cariboo North Central Region) Championships – a broader region of Whitehorse to Williams Lake and east to Fort St. John and Dawson Creek. In the early days of Provincials 30% of a skater’s mark was Figures as set by the CFSA (Canadian Figure Skating Association). Achieving Gold Feet included marks on Dance, Free Skate, and Figures. Kitimat figure skater Dennis Coi went to Nationals and in 1978 became Junior Men’s World Champion.
Snow Valley Figure Skating Club Success
The 1980s was a peak period for the Club with many competitive skaters. The executive was always large, having a member responsible for each area including the Ice Carnival and the Concession. Precision team skating was a very big part of the Club, teaching teamwork and pride. Overall members learned not only individual dedication, concentration and discipline but also the importance of supporting and cheering each other on.
Figure Skating – Changing Times
In efforts to involve more amateur skaters in recreational skating, the level of competition nationally was reduced. Figures were eventually eliminated from Gold Feet testing. Following suit provincially, the Club became known as the Snow Valley Skating Club (circa 1990), taking “Figure” out of its name. A broader delivery of skating programs were introduced by the CFSA and included the Can Skate and Power Skating programs, developed by the CFSA and delivered by Clubs across the country, including Kitimat.