The Winter Olympics may be over but the fun doesn’t have to end, at least for the fans of ice skating.
There are plenty of spins, glides and jumps happening right here in Lewis County at the Evergreen Artistic Skating Club’s weekly practices. Only these moves are on roller skates, not ice skates.
“A lot of people know about ice skating but not a lot of people know about artistic skating,” said coach Quinn Moran, 20, who has been leading the group out of the Centralia Rollerdrome for about a year now.
Moran, of Rochester, is a U.S.A. Roller Sports (USARS) certified coach. USARS oversees the roller sports of inline and rink hockey, inline and quad speed skating, roller derby and figure (artistic) skating. Skaters in USARC sports have the opportunity to compete on national and international levels, and the USARS sports have been considered for inclusion in the summer Olympic games.
Artistic skating comes in several forms: figures, requiring the skater to retrace figure patterns on the skating surface with accuracy; singles and pairs, similar to competitive ice skating; solo or team dancing; precision team skating; and show team skating. Moran began taking skating lessons at 7 and by the age of 8 began being coached by Vera Shadduck and Gerald Hoffman, who headed the Evergreen Artistic Club at the Rollerdrome, the precursor to the Evergreen Artistic Skating Club.
Moran competed in regional competitions eight times and nationals four times. One highlight of her skating career was at the age of 14, Moran competed in the 2011 Artistic Roller Skating World Championship in Brasilia, Brazil as part of the Northern Dynamics Precision Roller Skating Team, which was comprised skaters from throughout Washington and the Northwest.
Moran retired from the competitive sport at the age of 17 because of injuries. In 2016, she started teaching beginning skating lessons at the Rollerdrome in Centralia.
“For me, it’s like a way to give back to the community,” Moran said.
Moran’s former coach Shadduck was the one who suggested she get certified by USARS and restart the artistic skating club. Today, Moran offers weekly lessons for beginning skaters of all ages. Anyone who excels past basic techniques in the beginner class can graduate to the skating club. Evergreen Artistic Skating Club skates Thursdays evenings. Moran said the sport of artistic skating offers both a good outlet for exercise as well as competitive opportunities for kids who want to make the time commitment. Moran also noted that the closest ice rink is a two-hour drive away from the Twin Cities, so artistic skating is a good alternative for families who may have kids who are interested in figure skating, but for whom a two-hour commute for practices may be unrealistic
“It’s a really fun alternative to ice skating and, in my opinion, less dangerous,” Moran said. “It’s fun to watch their smiles light up when they learn new things.”
Shelan Davis, of Chehalis, has been bringing her daughters Ana, 15, and Alina, 12, to the club since it was first restarted about a year ago. She said she has noticed that her kids’ balance and coordination have both gotten better while participating in the skating sport.
“And they actually want to come. They like it,” she said. “(Moran) is very good with the kids. She’s very patient.”
Desiree McLaughlin, 8, Chehalis, and her neighbor Alexia Vargas, 9, started attending about six months ago. McLaughlin’s aunt and uncle, Dave and Kim Lee, bring the pair.
“I really enjoy watching her strive to do the best she can, to do new things. She just doesn’t give up,” Kim Lee said of her niece’s involvement.
Kim Lee said she also likes that the Rollerdrome holds open skating at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays, which means sometimes the girls just stay and get more practice in
“It’s really been the first sport she’s really likes and I’ve tried everything: gymnastics; ballet,” Kim Lee said. “She wants to lean how to dance on skates. That’s her goal.”
Moran said if kids have fun with Evergreen Artistic Skating Club then she has done her job. Still, since she knows the excitement of competition level artistic skating, she said she hopes to eventually attract skaters who have an interest in participating in competitive events. She said there are meets available regionally in August and October she hopes to take skaters to.
“Not only to get their first meet under their belts but to see other skaters and to meet other skaters,” Moran said. “It’s a very special thing that happens when skaters come together.”