The sound of blades carving ice was drowned out by cheers at the Gold Nugget Championships - Yukon’s figure skating championship - Saturday at the Canada Games Centre.
The centre’s ATCO arena was filled with cheers and applause as 45 skaters gave it their all.
“It was very successful. For the last few years we have more skaters in more events,” said Arctic Edge Skating Club chair Stacey Hays. “One of the unique properties of our competition is we have so many different events that the skaters can take part in ... We have the free skate, interpretive programs, elements, solo dance - there’s a lot to take part in.
“We’re growing in the number of events each skater takes part in.”
A total of 45 skaters participated in this year’s championships with 22 from Yukon’s Arctic Edge Skating Club (AESC), 16 from N.W.T.‘s Inuvik Skating Club (ISC) and five from Alaska’s Juneau Skating Club (JSC).
Two Special Olympics Yukon skaters, who are slated to compete at the 2016 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games beginning late February, also took to the ice. Michael Sumner, who won silver at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games, performed in men’s Level 2 and teammate Tijana McCarthy in women’s Level 1.
Arctic Edge skaters claimed gold in 11 out of 19 divisions, leaving Inuvik with five and Juneau with three.
Jamie Nickel led the way for Arctic Edge, winning gold in STAR5 girls, senior creative women and bronze interpretive. Teammate Bronwyn Hays was close behind in the medal count, taking gold in introductory interpretive and in senior bronze solo dance, and silver STAR5 girls (behind Nickel).
The Gold Nugget Championships has in the past doubled as the Arctic Winter Games selection process. But unfortunately for figure skaters, the sport will not be included in the Games this March in Greenland. Arctic Edge will instead send a team to compete at the 2016 B.C. Coast Region Championships in February.
In the meantime, three Whitehorse skaters are getting set to hit the national stage this weekend.
Rachel Pettitt, Mikayla Kramer and Bryn Hoffman are slated to compete at the Skate Canada Challenge competition - the final stepping-stone en route to the national championships - this weekend in Edmonton.
Pettitt, who became the first Yukoner to win gold at the National Skating Championships last January, will compete in junior women. Kramer will compete at her first Challenge in pre-novice ladies.
Hoffman, who trains in Calgary, will represent Alberta in junior pairs with skating partner Bryce Chudak and will also compete in junior women singles.
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