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On Stage

Christmas on Ice

Step inside a winter wonderland

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

If you’re one of those people who’s only been inside the Bellingham Sportsplex for a community garage sale on the soccer grounds, you may not be aware that the large building on Civic Field Way also boasts a whole lot of ice.

“I am shocked to hear time and time again that people are surprised to find there is a rink in Bellingham,” says longtime Bellingham Figure Skating Club member Karyln Hungate, who’s also a coach and one of the artistic directors for this year’s winter performance, “The Night Before Christmas on Ice,” happening Dec. 7-8 at the space.

“Not only does the Sportsplex offer an indoor soccer field, but contains a great ice arena, as well,” she adds. “Admission is reasonable and public skate sessions are offered on the weekend, as well as throughout the week.”

Hungate, a junior at Western Washington University who’s been involved with the Bellingham Figure Skating Club since she was 5, says the seasonal fundraising shows are a great way to get people excited about both the sport and the club—which has been offering a variety of learning experiences on the ice since 1993.

In addition to providing access to professional instructors and the opportunity to skate competitively, the nonprofit also features social gatherings, sanctioned tests and, a few times a year, the opportunity for its members to perform.

As a coach and a director for this weekend’s shows, Hungate says there’s a lot of things she’s enjoyed about watching the skaters practice for the big event.

“Each of the individual skaters have come such a long way in the past year, and this is a wonderful opportunity for them to showcase their talent,” she says. “Figure skating is fun for all ages, and we designed this show to entertain the local community with the talents of our club skaters. This show gives our community the opportunity to support an all-inclusive local recreational club and be part of the excitement as we welcome the holiday season.”

“The Night Before Christmas on Ice” will feature 20 figure skaters from Bellingham, Blaine, and beyond. And while the ages of the performers vary—some are as young as 7, and top out at age 17—the one thing they have in common is their love of what happens when they lace up their skates and head to the ice.

“We provide skaters with the opportunity to participate in an individual sport, while also being a member of a group,” Hungate says. “Our skaters have worked extremely collaboratively during this whole process. Our older, more experienced, skaters serve as great role models.”

Krista Vagen, Hungate’s co-artistic director for the show, also enjoys seeing the skaters of different ages work together, and hopes the community will come out to support them.

Although she can’t guarantee watching the skaters recreate a classic story will get viewers excited for the season, Vagen says it gets her in the spirit.

“Christmas is one of my favorite holidays,” she says. “Hearing Christmas music and doing the ice show just adds to the excitement—with all the skaters dressed up and doing their numbers smiling and enjoying themselves. It’s such a happy time.”

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