Figure skater Laci Skifter holds her "Flat Stella" figure skater drawing and a trophy she earned at the Braemer figure skating competition in Edina, Minn. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
Figure skater Laci Skifter holds her "Flat Stella" figure skater drawing and a trophy she earned at the Braemer figure skating competition in Edina, Minn. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
Ask Laci: If it has feet, put skates on it.
Barbie, Ken, the family dog…all should learn the routine, set to Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon,” according to Spring Valley figure skater Laci Skifter, whose trophy shelf is lined with awards from her recent rink accomplishments.
“I did make skates for my baby doll,” said the 10-year-old, who also made a “Flat Stella” paper figure skater that will be sent on vacation with and to friends across the nation as part of a homeschooling project. She pointed out that being a figure skater is “not about the trophies…it’s about skating.”
“I like learning something new…it’s a lot different than I thought it would be — I kind of thought it would be less work,” she said.
Laci and her mother, Sue, have made the Rochester Rec Center figure skating rink in Rochester their second home, preparing the level eight skater, who just graduated from basic skills, for beginner training and more serious competition. Laci asked her father, Tim, to give up some back yard lawn to build her own ice rink, but he passed on the opportunity to buy a Zamboni and maintain an ice rink instead of mowing, even though the Skifters have changed their schedules to very early morning to transport their daughter to her practices.
She’s excelling, though, and according to Sue, “skates around the house…she’s always hanging off something, doing some ballet or skating.”
Sue listed the competitions Laci has been in and the awards she has earned since February, when she competed at the Hiawathaland Figure Skating Competition in the Basic VI level with music, skating to Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon” and placing fourth. At the Braemer Figure Skating Competition in Edina in the Basic V division in early June – once again “flying to the moon” with Mr. Sinatra — she placed first. On June 29 at the Bloomington Ice Garden, she was presented with a third place trophy by the Twin Cities Figure Skating Association for participation in the 2013-2014 Basic Skills Series. Awards are given to skaters in each of the Basic Skills levels and the free-skate levels for those skaters who participated during the 2013-2014 season. A total of 180 skaters from 22 member figure skating clubs were eligible, and Laci tied for third at the Basic V level.
“She also passed the Synchro I level in the past few weeks and is looking forward to trying out for the Rhythm & Blades Synchronized Figure Skating Team again this fall…they’re hoping to find more synchro skaters to make the team,” added Sue.
Synchro, or group skating, is Laci’s favorite way to travel on the ice. Of course, that’s in addition to solo figure skating, jazz, tap, ballet, hip-hop and dance-line dance lessons…and homework. She calls dancing and skating “good exercise,” but wants to be a skater more than anything else, still aspiring to either skate professionally or become a coach. Though she most enjoys synchro skating, she appreciates what it takes to learn a routine, such as the Dutch Waltz or the Canasta Tango, gliding on the cool surface by herself.
“When I’m alone on the ice…I like that I’m moving,” she said. “I just go.”
Laci loves “everything” about skating, perhaps more so than she did a year ago, and she even takes her skates on vacation so she doesn’t miss practicing.
Sue admitted that figure skating isn’t a sport for everyone, as it requires family dedication — including getting up at 4 a.m. to get to the rink, a serious budget and big decisions, such as the one the family is facing now.
“She’s skating three times a week now, and now that she’s passed Basic VIII, she has to be a contracted skater, which means she’ll have to pick her ice time and decide if she’s going to do theatrical skating or ice dancing,” said Sue.
For now, Laci’s busy strapping skates on her own feet and looking around to see what dolls she might have missed…just in case.