Fuller Lake Skating Club members, from left: Brielle Varasteh, Caiden Varasteh and Amber Ree with a famous friend, former national men’s figure skating phenom Elvis Stojko, in Parksville. (Photo submitted)

Skating power couple assists Fuller Lake club members

Parksville seminar a great experience for those in attendance to hone their skills

Fuller Lake Figure Skating Club members were witnesses to an Elvis sighting in Parksville.

It wasn’t THE Elvis, but a very well-known Elvis just the same, former World champion figure skater Elvis Stojko.

Stojko, a two-time Olympic silver medalist for Canada, was in Parksville with his wife, Mexican champion Gladys Orozco, for two days of hard work and loads of fun in the Vancouver Island Development Seminar. Fuller Lake skaters received an amazing opportunity to take part in the seminar.

“I have never met Elvis, however, I have seen him at Stars On Ice in Victoria,” noted Fuller Lake skater Amber Ree. “He was instructing one of the classes based on jumps and spins at the seminar. His wife was also there coaching us on more theatrical footwork sequences and we also had an off-ice dance/workout class with other teachers.

“The seminar was based around Elvis’s tips and tricks for jumps and spins, although we did not have a ton of time to learn every detail and not a lot of one-on-one learning. He only taught us what he found helped him with his jumps and spins. We then would go and try what he taught us and tell him whether it improved at all or not. Most of his tips for his jumps helped me a lot because he is short and I am as well so it was nice trying things from a different approach than the ‘normal’ way things are taught. Little things really make a difference.

Fuller Lake was represented by skaters in each of the three groups that were split up by level.

They rotated the first day through six sessions – two off-ice and two on-ice with Stojko, and then two more on ice with Orozco. On the second day, the skaters had one of each class.

“Because Parksville has two rinks, we were able to just walk across to our next session on the other rink,” noted Ree.

“My group probably learned a lot from the session on jumps with Elvis as we are working on harder jumps such as doubles and some even triples,” she added. “He taught us lots of little tricks to help us not break some known bad habits and ways to make our jumps cleaner.

“All together the experience was lots of fun. Elvis was very professional, however, talked to us like he knew how we felt about our struggles with our jumps and spins. We all were very engaged and I’m very thankful to have been able to have such an experience.”

Ree graduated from Ladysmith Secondary in June and I has been going to Vancouver Island University since February taking hairdressing. Her course will be done in December.

Ree has managed to continue skating at least two days a week depending on her work schedule while helping Fuller Lake head coach Shannon McKinlay, along with her skating friend Paris Hanke.

”We both alternate and coach the younger skaters’ off-ice classes on Mondays and Fridays,” noted Ree. “Because Paris didn’t end up attending the seminar, Shannon asked me to be in charge of the skaters just to help them if they needed and make sure that they all were following the rules. Everyone was awesome.“