When the Bill Collier Community Ice Arena opened in January 2002, the first group figure skating class consisted of 21 students who ranged in age from six years to the middle 60s. Charles Cossey, an experienced adult figure skater, volunteered to serve as the arena’s principal figure skating instructor that season, a position he has held since.
In its second season, group figure skating classes were limited to not more than ten students per class and classes were divided up by age and skill levels according to guidelines established by the United States Figure Skating (USFS) “Basic Skills” program.
Two different sessions of group figure skating lessons were scheduled during the second season, with the Session I lessons being held on Saturdays in November and December and (sometimes) early January and the Session II lessons being held on Saturdays in January, February and March. This scheduling pattern for group lessons is still the norm today.
As interest in figure skating in the area grew and skill levels among skaters improved, group skating classes were further divided and now consist of as many as 16 different classes serving a total of more than 70 students during the two hours of group lessons held each Saturday. As many as six skating instructors, along with several skating apprentices, are working on the ice at the same time during these lessons.
Skaters as young as three years of age have their first experiences on the ice in the gently-guided “USFS Snowplow Sam” skating program while young skaters from six to 15 learn to skate and improve their skating skills in the “USFS Basic Skills – Levels 1 to 8” skating program. Added in 2011 was a Freestyle class for those students who have mastered Basic 1 through 8. Students 15 years of age and older are placed in the four different levels of the “USFS Adult Skills” skating program.
In addition to group lessons, private or semi-private figure skating lessons are available by appointment with several different skating instructors, who are also available to serve as group skating instructors for special events or parties at the ice arena.
During its third season, Klamath Ice Sports, in conjunction with the Oregon Institute of Technology (O.I.T.), began offering a one credit physical education class in figure skating during O.I.T.’s winter term (January to March). The class meets twice a week for 2-1/2 months and results in the testing of skaters at the “adult” level at the end of the term.
The success of the figure skating program at the Bill Collier Community Ice Arena is evident in that fact that there is now a devoted and growing group of figure skaters at the ice arena, of all ages, who work hard to improve their skating skills and who volunteer their time and talents to the ice arena’s operations and events. In addition, several young skaters are now training competitively and another, a product of the O.I.T. skating class, is continuing to enjoy opportunities as a professional figure skater.
It is estimated that, over the past eleven seasons, the figure skating program at the Bill Collier Community Ice Arena has resulted in teaching more than 1300 individuals of all different ages to enjoy the fun and fitness of ice skating.