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Whistler Skating Club welcomes all ages and abilities

‘Skating is for life,’ says director of skating Morgan Wentworth
The Whistler Skating Club offers a wide variety of options for those looking to challenge themselves.

Skating is a quintessential winter activity. Most Canadians have laced up a pair of bladed boots at some point in time, stepping onto a frozen lake or a community rink for hours of graceful gliding or high-impact hockey (or unintentional slapstick comedy for those who can’t keep their balance). Yet some might leave those experiences behind when they reach adulthood or fail to achieve the athletic goals of their youth. 

Morgan Wentworth and her fellow coaches at the Whistler Skating Club strive to bring the magic back, showing participants of all ages and abilities that skating can be a lifelong source of health, confidence and joy. 

The Whistler Skating Club (WSC) was founded in 1993 and is affiliated with Skate Canada, one of the oldest and largest figure skating organizations on Earth. Wentworth herself entered the nationally recognized CanSkate curriculum at four years old and spent two decades as a high-level competitor, including time on the B.C. Junior and Senior Provincial teams from 1996 to 2000. After college, she took up coaching and has been with the club for about three years. 

“We’re open to all levels of skating,” explained Wentworth, WSC’s director of skating. “We try our hardest to accommodate adults who are learning to skate, adults that have skated in the past and want to come back from years away. We’re also trying to really accommodate teenagers that are left in between, who don’t want to compete, but maybe still want to keep skating.” 

“We have a committed group of the highest quality coaches, both on the ice and off the ice, that are dedicated to the full development of an athlete and to the positive growth of the sport,” added Dianne Diamond, a veteran coach and former director of skating before Wentworth. 

While the club’s skaters are predominantly female, boys are more than welcome—and more are signing up. Half a dozen new boys joined WSC in 2022, in addition to one more who has been participating for about seven years. Wentworth suggests that parents who want to put their kids into any skating sport (whether that’s hockey, speed skating or ringette) invest in CanSkate first. 

“I always highly, highly recommend that if you’re putting your child into hockey, put them into CanSkate first,” she said. “Hockey doesn’t actually teach how to skate—they teach hockey. The Whistler Minor Hockey Association actually really, really appreciates it when they have skaters come to them from our CanSkate program.” 

In fact, several current and former NHL players, including Hall of Famers Scott Niedermayer and Paul Kariya, have trained in figure skating at one point.

WSC offers many opportunities for figure skating enthusiasts to challenge themselves, such as the annual Jingle Blades competition. Nine WSC skaters participated from Nov. 25 to 27 and several distinguished themselves in various categories: Evelyn Arese (gold, Star 3); Frances Lowry (silver, Star 3); Hallie Clarke (first place, Star 4); Nina Laferriere (gold, Star 4); Sophia Emm and Maggie Hertz (both silver, Star 4). 

Ethan Adanac, the lone Whistler boy at Jingle Blades, finished 10th (including first in his program component score) in his first attempt at the Podium Pathway category. 

“We were so proud of them all,” Wentworth said. “They haven’t really competed in person over the last few years [due to the pandemic], so it’s just one of those hurdles that we have to overcome again and get used to performing in front of a live audience.” 

Wentworth also hopes that the parents and friends of club members will get used to filling up the bleachers again. COVID-19 barred spectators from attendance for a lengthy time, and some parents are not as active in the community as they once were. In the meantime, WSC is grateful for the backing of sponsors like Concord Pacific and Lululemon Whistler, which have funded CanSkate programs and donated jackets for club coaches and participants. 


Those who do hope to support local skaters will soon have a great opportunity to come out. Coming up on Dec. 9 at Meadow Park Sports Centre is the biggest fundraiser on WSC’s annual calendar: Starry Night. COVID-19 forced the club to drastically downsize that event in recent years. 

This year, everyone from the youngest camp skaters to adults and senior club members will take the ice together alongside two special guests: Wesley Chiu and Amy Shao Ning Yang. 

Both Chiu and Yang are high-level athletes based out of Connaught Skating Club in Richmond, B.C. Chiu is on the Canadian national men’s team and has four top-10 results in senior-level international competition under his belt (most recently 10th at this year’s Grand Prix de France). Yang is a familiar sight at regional tournaments. 

“We are sister clubs with [Connaught] and they’ve been generous enough to send us two of their top skaters just to give the kids an idea of what to strive for,” said Wentworth. “We don’t get a lot of exposure being such a little town. You have to travel quite a bit to go to competitions to see these skaters, so it’s nice when they come to us.” 

Starry Night is open to the public, with donations being collected at the door. 

Wentworth does hope to see her club develop more high-level skaters that can represent Whistler at top competitions, but above all she and her colleagues prioritize a healthy and safe environment for their pupils. They strive to embody one of Skate Canada’s key messages: skating is for all ages, and it is for life. 

“Especially nowadays with COVID, there’s just that fear incorporated with everything that [kids] do,” said Wentworth. “We try to make it a safe space for them to come in, have fun and put their school day beside them before they get on the ice. 

“Because we’re such a small club, these kids that skate are really great friends and they have just a great camaraderie between them all. They support each other and we try to foster that relationship: making friends on the ice and working together as a team.”

Visit the Whistler Skating Club’s website for more information on Starry Night and other club activities throughout the year.