The Whistler Skating Club has come into its own in recent years with skaters reaching the podium in competitions and qualifying for events like the B.C. Winter Games and national competitions like StarSkate Championships.
At a March 14 test date hosted by visiting international judge Janice Hunter, all of the Whistler participants qualified new jumps and manoeuvres, which allow them to compete at a higher level.
The biggest leap belonged to Debbie Cobon, a 19-year-old skater who moved to Whistler after graduating high school. In her third try, using her coach as her dance partner, she earned her third gold in the national test stream, the highest level in Canada under the competitive stream. She had already earned her freeskate and skills gold levels, and only needed her dance level to complete her qualifications.
"When you start out as a kid, you follow the programs and the progression, and every year you expect to test something," she said. "(The triple gold) is the farthest you can go outside of the competitive program, thats when you fully meet your goal after all those years if you stick with it. It also looks pretty good on a skating resume."
Cobon hopes to take her Level I coaching next, where she will spend a year training under a coach while taking coaching courses. She will also continue to compete, including a contest on Vancouver Island in April, and trains three times a week.
She loves to jump, and says her best jump is a double lutz. Shes also done a few triples in the past but says its difficult to keep up those skills if you dont train every day in a competitive environment.
"In a contest theres a lot going on besides jumping, the judges are looking to see how strong a skater is, how artistic, theyre looking for certain moves, but if you fall on your jumps, no matter how good your routine is, you wont do well."
To get her gold level in dance, Cobon skated with her coach Dom Turgeon. They spent just two weeks and three lessons putting a routine together, which is why Cobon was amazed she qualified. "I have to thank Dom, he was an awesome coach, and he was great to work with. Its hard to finds guys to practice with, which is why its so hard to get your dance gold. He really went all out to help me."
Other successful tests include:
Junior Bronze Program (freeskate)
Senior Bronze Elements
Junior Bronze Skills
Novice Singles Free
Siobhan van Gruen