The Superior Figure Skating Club, an organization that has been a part of our community for 64 years, is soon coming to an end. Our city is about to endure a loss I feel could be avoided with community partnerships and involvement.
The Superior Figure Skating Club was established in 1955, originally at the Superior Municipal Ice Arena. In the 1980s, it moved to Wessman Arena on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Superior.
The club introduces skaters 3 and up to the ice through a learn-to-skate program. As skaters progress, they have the opportunity to join the club to receive the benefit of more ice time, developmental group skating, the option of one-on-one training with a coach, and participation in an annual ice show. Skaters in the club can even choose to represent the city of Superior with athletics and grace at competition.
Unfortunately, club membership has dropped significantly over the past few years. This has been due, at least in part, to the only available weekday ice time being from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. during winter months. Figure skating is low on the priority list for local arena schedulers, with the many levels of hockey that have to be accommodated. It is hard to ask parents of young children to skate that late on school nights, so there is no real opportunity to grow as a club.
Parents are choosing to move their skaters to Duluth or choose a different activity for their kids altogether.
With reduced participation and mounting costs, the club will be forced to end with our last scheduled ice time, an exhibition on March 9. We were forced to cancel our annual ice show due to a lack of participation and money.
I grew up skating in the Superior Figure Skating Club, and now my 13-year-old daughter has taken this journey. She loves to figure skate, and this is heartbreaking for her.
The common response is, "You could always skate in Duluth." Yes, but we are from Superior!
The culture in the Superior club always has been family-oriented for younger skaters who may not necessarily want to compete but who enjoy the recreational development of figure-skating skills.
As an alumni of the club, I am so disappointed we will no longer be able to offer Superior Figure Skating to my child and yours. There has been a strong heart and a willingness from all involved. But without ice, we can no longer offer the club experience.
I plead to you as community members to consider the value we provide as a recreational option here in the Northland and the loss many of us will feel when it is gone.
Sue Isackson of Superior grew up skating in the Superior Figure Skating Club, and her 13-year-old daughter now is part of the club.