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Banff Canmore Speed Skating Club

Fun in the Fast Lane: Banff Canmore Speed Skating Club

While the name of the sport may suggest it’s all about speed, having fun and building confidence on the ice come first at Banff Canmore Speed Skating Club.

If you’re new to the world of speed skating, it’s a form of ice skating in which competitors race against each other, typically around an oval track.

Robin Bortsmayer, Vice President, says the Club is focused on helping kids and adults build their skills in a safe and welcoming environment – speed can come later.

Banff Canmore Speed Skating Club is led by a team of parent volunteers, as well as two coaches: Ian Mellor, based in Canmore, and Ryan Hickman based in Calgary.

Robin Bortsmayer, Vice President, says the Club is focused on helping kids and adults build their skills in a safe and welcoming environment – speed can come later.

“It’s quite common for kids to skate for a couple of years before going into the racing. We host club meets three times a year, and they are a really good introduction for kids who love skating and want to see what the racing side is like,” Robin says.

Members practice three times per week, including at the 400-metre long track at the Calgary Olympic Oval. In addition to attending regular training sessions, members are encouraged to participate in Club Race Nights and to compete in various local and provincial meets throughout the season.

The Club offers both short track and long track skating. As the name suggests, the main difference between short and long track is the size of the track. Short track races are conducted pack-style around a 111.12m track, while in long track, skaters race in pairs in their own lanes around a 400m track.

“It’s short distances – four or five people on the line at once, a little bit like roller derby – on the short track. Most kids would start off with short track because it’s a more accessible environment, then if they want to later on, they can cross over to the long track,” Robin says.

“We encourage kids to do both short and long track to see what they like. As they get older, maybe 15 to 17, they may start specializing in one or the other.”

Robin says that while many winter sport enthusiasts will take to the ice very naturally, speed skating requires athletes to develop a unique skillset.

“It’s a significantly different technique to ice skating or hockey skating. It’s a learning curve for sure – and a whole lot of fun,” Robin says.

Banff Canmore Speed Skating Club

Finn Borstmayer

Banff Canmore Speed Skating Club

Lili Wilz

The Club marked a strong winter season in 2016-17, sending six skaters to a Canadian western championship qualifier in Calgary. Among the Club’s most notable alumni is Conner Howe, who helped power Canada to a bronze medal performance at the World Junior Long Track Championships in Helsinki, Finland in 2017.

This winter season, the Club will be travelling to Wood Buffalo, Northeastern Alberta, to compete at the Alberta Winter Games, in February 2018.

“We welcome anybody who would like to try speed skating. We’re proud to share our passion for this sport and we want to make it easy for children, teenagers, and adults of all levels to experience it in a safe and accessible way,” Robin says.

Max Zoffmann

Showcasing two key principles of True Sport, Have Fun and Include Everyone, Robin says the Club’s friendly community is delighted to welcome new members of all ages and experience levels.

“We welcome anybody who would like to try speed skating. We’re proud to share our passion for this sport and we want to make it easy for children, teenagers, and adults of all levels to experience it in a safe and accessible way,” Robin says.

“Whether it’s for recreational activity, or to see how far they can go competitively, we’re pleased to cover both of those aspects here in the one Club.”

Banff Canmore Speed Skating Club offers two sets of one-hour “Try It” sessions for free, which include coaching and speed skate rentals. These free sessions are available to anyone during the speed skating season, which runs from September to March.

So get ready, grab a helmet and lace up some skates, because you’re about to have a whole lot of fun on the ice!

The Pauw Foundation is proud to support Banff Canmore Speed Skating Club through its Youth Sport Fund, as part of promoting an active and vibrant community in the Bow Valley.

 

To find out more about the Youth Sport Fund, including how to apply for a funding grant for your local sports club, visit: https://pauwfoundation.com/youth-sport-fund/

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"Supporting a more active, vibrant, happy community of Banff"