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Sundre-area skater brings back gold and bronze medals

Mountain Regional Synchronized Skating Championships

A local skater recently came home with a bronze medal after performing with her team in Red Deer.

Maddison Turnbull, who lives in the Bergen area and is a member of the Carstairs Skating Club, was among a team of 12 who competed Jan. 24-26 at Skate Canada’s 2020 Mountain Regional Synchronized Skating Championships.   

Hosted at the Servus Arena, the event is part of the national qualifying system. It brought out more than 600 athletes, representing Alberta-NWT/Nunavut as well as British Columbia/Yukon Skate Canada sections.

“Can’t even express how proud I am of these girls!” posted mom Nicole Turnbull on social media after the team placed third out of seven in their category.

A Grade 4 student at River Valley School, Maddison put on her first pair of skates about six years ago with some encouragement from her mom, who also used to skate. The nine-year-old started out so early that she scantly recalls her first experiences on the ice. But she knows she quickly fell in love with the sport that offered an opportunity to develop and grow while forging new relationships.  

“It’s fun, and I get to see friends,” she said during an interview when asked what keeps her passionate about going to practice and preparing for competitions.

Learning new moves and mastering techniques adds to the excitement, and Maddison says her favourite move is a loop, which she describes as what’s known in the world of figure skating as a three-turn.

“You have to jump around and land on the same foot,” she said.

Always seeking to develop skills and add another notch on her belt, Maddison said next in her sights is the back hydroblade. It involves a delicate balancing act with the body stretched low down over the ice surface as a skater glides on a deep edge.

“You get wet, you touch the ice with your hands and your whole leg,” she enthusiastically explained.  

Previously a member of the Olds Figure Skating Club, Maddison this season joined the club in Carstairs, and has also been with Solstice Synchronized Skating, which is based in Carstairs as well, for two years. Coaches Charlsey Whittemore and Andrea St. Cyr have played a big role in her development, and she looks forward to her lessons.

“She loves to see what they have choreographed for her each time,” said dad Ryan, as Maddison nodded her agreement.   

With plans to remain involved in figure skating for the foreseeable future, she aspires to advance from elementary to the next level and eventually join the intermediate team.

“I’m just proud of her and all the girls,” said Ryan, who alongside Nicole attends practices and events to cheer her on.

“At the start of the season, none of them had ever skated together before,” he said.

But they've come quite a ways since then. Before the holidays, the team had competed at the Rose Bowl Invitational in Calgary, placing in third out of seven teams.

They were back on the ice again over the weekend at the Central Region STARSkate Invitational in Sylvan Lake, and won gold. Later this month, the team will be competing in Lethbridge.