High Sierra Adult Skate Camp: Mountains of Fun and Great Skating Part of the Experience
March 2016
by Joanne Vassallo Jamrosz, special to U.S. Figure Skating

The snow is still falling, and temperatures are less than summer like, but for many adult skaters plans to attend adult skating camps are well underway.

The High Sierra Adult Skate Camp in South Lake Tahoe, California is already seeing a large number of returning applications from previous campers for their fifth camp, May 18-22. The camp welcomes adult skaters over 18 in all disciplines from preliminary singles to international dance, according to camp director Karen Viel. The camp takes place at the South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena.

Skaters will have an opportunity to work with Charlie Tickner, Joanie Malarchuk, Peter Sasmore, John Dowding, Lorna Wighton Gosvenor, Ty Cockrum, Brent Bommentre and Kim Navarro.

“I try to rotate the clinics out between the coaches to make sure everyone has the opportunity for clinics with each one,” Viel said. “The good news from a scheduling standpoint is that all the coaches are capable of doing any of the clinics.”

The 2016 camp will include half hour clinics beginning at 8:15 in the morning until 12:30 p.m. There will also be an hour long dance session. Afternoon sessions will include private lessons.

“A majority of the participants do ice dance even if they are primarily interested in freestyle and moves in the field,” Viel said.

Past camps included clinics in spins, jumps, moves in the field, dance, partnering, edge quality, style, choreography and many other popular topics that will be returning this year.

“Two fun clinics I stole from Sun Valley’s camp are a Zumba on ice class which was very popular last year, and the Saturday dance session,” Viel said. “The coaches are available to dance with people (normally they are giving private lessons during that time). A large number of people had never been to a social dance weekend so this was a way for them to get taste of what those are like.”

The camp’s location in the incredible Sierra Mountains is also a huge draw.

“In Tahoe there are all sorts of activities for people,” Viel said. “We have a couple of groups that like to spend their evenings at the casinos, and restaurants. Depending on the weather we have people go on hikes, tour various attractions in the area and have lunch on the beach.”

A meet and greet social is scheduled for the first night, and the group has done dinner cruises on Lake Tahoe. There are also plans for a second social activity for the 2016 camp.

Returning camper Kevin Anderson feels the camp is popular because it brings together a group of adults who are passionate about one thing-skating.

“You meet old friends and make new ones,” Anderson said. “Everybody there is passionate about skating and we get to share our passion with each other. It’s an instant ice breaker. You meet someone new and it’s like you’ve been friends for years.”

Connie Curry, a member of the Peninsula Skating Club, attended three High Sierra Camps and will be returning this year.

“I am 77 and love skating with all the ability levels at the camp,” Curry said. “Everyone there is helpful to each other as well as looking to improve their skating. There is always something for everyone to learn. The coaches are exceptional, both in their experience and teaching ability and in the friendliness and respect they show each other. It is a unique chance to think beyond my every day skating and be exposed to new ideas and techniques.”

Skaters interested in learning more about the High Sierra Adult Skate Camp can visit their website.

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