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Ice skaters create 'Winter Wonderland'

December 18, 2010|By MARIE GILBERT | marieg@herald-mail.com
  • Erica Coffman, 23, of Chambersburg, Pa., performed Saturday night at the Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex during the "Winter Wonderland" show.
By Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Whether flying through the air or spinning into a blur, figure skaters often make their sport look easy.

Take Scott Powell, for instance.

Warming up before Saturday’s holiday show at the Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex, he looked like he was born on ice.

“Actually, I’ve been skating 10 years,” he said. “I’ve been a student, a professional skater and now a coach.”

Maybe that’s why he makes dangerous look spectacular.

Powell, 24, of Martinsburg, W.Va., was among the participants in “Winter Wonderland,” an annual program presented by the Hagerstown Edge Skating Academy.

The show featured 36 acts and included skaters of all ages and skill levels, said Erica Coffman, figure skating director.

For many of the students, it was their first time performing before an audience of family and friends.

“There’s a lot of excitement tonight, as well as some nervousness,” she said.

Coffman said the show gives the skaters an opportunity to showcase their acquired skills.

“It’s really a special evening for both the students and their families,” she said.

Coffman said the academy draws skaters from the four-state region. About 45 skaters were performing in Saturday’s show.

“There really has been an increase in this area in the number of young people interested in figure skating,” she said. “After the recent Olympics, we really saw a big spike in numbers.”

Coffman said she has been skating for about 11 years and sees herself in the younger students.

“I can remember my first show and all of the excitement,” she said. “It really is a pleasure to watch the students grow.”

Like any sport, there is a little apprehension in the beginning among new skaters, Coffman said.

“But they get past the nerves and when they learn they can do it, they gain confidence,” she said.

Kylie Brown, 10, of Sharpsburg, said she has been skating two years and loves it.

“In the beginning, I didn’t really mind the bumps and bruises,” she said. “I just kept at it.”

“I think it’s a great opportunity for her,” said Kylie’s mother, Brandy Brown. “She took both ballet and tap classes and sometimes it was a struggle getting her to go to practice. But with figure skating, she can’t wait to practice.”

Powell said he became interested in figure skating by accident.

“I had a friend in school who took figure skating lessons, so I accompanied her to practice one day,” he said. “I tried it, loved, it, got group lessons for Christmas and I’ve been skating ever since.”

Powell said he doesn’t remember being afraid of the ice — “I just took off.”

Now, as a coach, he sees the fearlessness in his young students.

“They just go out there and skate,” he said.

Powell said he would love to see more boys become interested in figure skating.

“Boys don’t realize the opportunities,” he said. “They’re extremely sought after in the world of figure skating. You might have to pay for lessons for a couple of years. But if you show promise, people will step in and mold you.”

Powell said even after performing with a professional ice show, he was excited about Saturday’s holiday performance.

“I just love skating,” he said.

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