NewsPositively Hampton Roads


Skate around the hot weather at Hampton Roads ice rinks, where a vibrant skating community thrives

Posted at 12:49 PM, Jul 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-26 17:43:58-04

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - It's hot enough to make the devil sweat. But a break from the heat in Hampton Roads? Well, maybe when hell freezes over.

Figure skating is the sport of choice on these Chilled Ponds. There are three ice rinks in the area, including Iceland in Virginia Beach, Hampton Roads Iceplex in Yorktown and Chilled Ponds in Chesapeake.

"I can’t remember not knowing how to skate," said 14-year-old Taylor Perry.

David Race and his sister Elyse have been skating for three years. "We started skating there [Iceland] and my parents were like, 'Wow you really seem to like this.'"

They, like many others who grow to love figure skating, started taking group lessons, then private lessons and now they skate almost every day of the week. David and Elyse volunteer Saturday during Chilled Ponds' Learn to Skate program. David, who has really taken to the sport has started working on more difficult jumps.

"Working on doubles, it really did take a long time to get some of them. It's really frustrating but when I get it I'm proud of myself," said David.

With three rinks in the Hampton Roads area where people can test their skills on ice - along with the Tidewater Figure Skating Club being around for at least a few decades - skaters say there is a vibrant skating community.

Amy Perry has two daughters who skate. "When people ask what sports they’re in and they say figure skating, nobody does that around here. It's a very small community."

Small, but open to all, no matter your age or skill level.

Stefania Baker has been skating since she was three years old and skates a few times a week. She says jumps are her favorite, especially the flip jump. She's just a little taller than four feet.

When it's summer, many skaters seek refuge by practicing their spins, jumps and skating skills.

"During the summer when there’s not much to do, it doesn't take up all day. I'll go to the rink for an hour, two hours and then do everything else," said Taylor Perry.

Most skaters get their start with the Learn to Skate program and move on, or jump, from there. The Tidewater Figure Skating Club has about 50 members who train in the area. Just a few weeks ago, Olympian Jason Brown, famous for his Riverdance Program, was at Iceplex with a seminar teaching skaters from the local area and around the country.

It's a community many say is thriving, despite being tightknit. Jill Stewart, the skating director at Chilled Ponds, said she has about 12 coaches on her staff.

So while many kids are looking to hang tight during the summer, the kids at local ice rinks are looking for hang time.