Skate school is a good opportunity to learn |

Skate school is a good opportunity to learn

Chad Sellmer, Tribune staff writer

Jim GrantConnor Chase, 7, skates in South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena's Hockey I group on Thursday afternoon

“When you jump up in the air, it feels like you’re flying and when you spin, you go so fast. It’s just fun,” said 10-year-old Lindsey McCall, describing her experience in the South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena’s skate school.

Some South Lake Tahoe residents are taking advantage of the city’s new ice arena by learning to skate for the first time, be it for hockey or figure skating or just brushing up on general skills. The school caters to all ages, from tots to mature adults in several skill levels.

School coordinator Laura Cefalu said the goal of instruction is “getting kids up to speed and learning to a level that we can build up our skate school and someday have in-house competitions.

“It is mostly kids, probably in the range of 6-15 years old,” Cefalu explained. “We do have tots, which is probably the second-biggest group and there are some adults. We got a big group of guys (signed up) for hockey level 1-2 this session.”

The school also features a group program for third-graders from area elementary schools.

“It is free to the school district,” she said. “Their only expense is the bus. We have instructors there for half an hour with the kids. We want to let all kids be able to experience it and hopefully that will continue next year. So far, it’s going great and the kids really love it.”

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Cost for the skate school’s eight-week session is $80 and runs on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. This includes a half hour of instruction per week and free skate rental, as well as one free skate session once per week at the ice arena. The current session began on March 3 and the next begins May 5. For more information, contact the ice arena at (530) 542-6262.

Cefalu, who grew up figure skating, said the most enjoyable part of the school is watching children discover skating for the first time.

“I love seeing kids learn and get such enjoyment out of being out there, doing something new,” she said.

The kids certainly seem to be enjoying themselves. A beaming McCall, awaiting the start of her Freestyle II class, said she’s working on waltz jumps, scratch spins and whole flips. The Meyers Elementary School student has been skating at the arena since last summer.

Soleil Thiele, 9, a fourth-grader at Sierra House, is in a more basic class in the Alpha level. She has been skating at the arena for about a month now.

“I like doing crossovers and going backwards,” Thiele said.