Free ice skating shows at Solaris Plaza and Lionshead
Team USA members, international medalists and an Olympian will perform on the outdoor ice this month
The town of Vail is presenting three free ice skating performances at the Lionshead and Solaris ice rinks over the next month. Some of the country’s top competitive skaters will combine high-level skills, entertaining stunts and festive artistry in a 15-minute show that is open to everyone on Dec. 10, Dec. 17 and Dec. 22.
The series began during Thanksgiving weekend and continues this Saturday with two live performances at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. at Solaris Plaza.
The skaters featured in the shows are no ordinary performers — they are Team USA members, international and national medalists, and even an Olympian.
Edwin Shipstad, owner of the presenting company Shipstad Entertainment, said that the skaters use these performances as opportunities to build confidence in their competitive elements before heading to the U.S. National Championships in January.
“Even though it’s a smaller sheet of ice, any time they can get out and perform some of the tricks that they’re going to do at the U.S. National Championships, it just benefits them being in a nervous situation and performing,” Shipstead said. “If you can do it in the snow, the wind blowing in your face on outdoor ice, which has leaves on it, all sorts of elements, it gives the kids confidence.”
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While the commercial ice rinks in Vail and Lionshead are considerably smaller than the competitive rinks the skaters are used to, Shipstad said that the routines feature elements taken directly from their real routines, and audience members can expect to see triple jumps and other difficult skills right in front of them.
“In a very small setting like the Solaris, it is really fun to see people jump that big, that close,” Shipstad said.
Saturday’s show features six skaters and stars Amber Glenn, a Team USA Member and US Junior Champion and one of the few women in the world who has successfully completed a triple axel. Though she will not be performing a triple axel in Solaris Plaza due to space restrictions, she will perform a modified version of the short program that she will compete at nationals in January.
Other skaters include Clare Seo, Emelia Murdoch and Jordan Moeller, as well as pairs team Grace Hanns and Danny Neudecker.
In addition to being good practice, the ice show also allows the skaters to show off their more playful side, such as ice cartwheels and other entertaining stunts. Moeller, also a US Junior Champion and former member of Team USA, is planning three backflips on the ice.
The highlight of the free series will be the Dec. 22 performance by Mirai Nagasu, an Olympic bronze medalist and U.S. National Champion who was the first American woman to land a triple axel at the Olympic Games in 2018.
Shipstad also puts on the Vail Ice Spectacular, which this year will star 2022 Olympic gold medalist Nathan Chen. With lights, music and talented skaters, the free shows are a glimpse of what can be seen at the full production at Dobson Ice Arena.
Performances start right on the hour, and no reservations are required. Additional shows, times and performers are included below.
Saturday, Dec. 17: Arrabelle Ice Rink in Lionshead, 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Featuring: Tomoki Hiwatashi, Team USA; Amber Glenn, Team USA; Ellie Kam and Danny O’Shea, Team USA pairs team; Jordan Moeller, international medalist; Joseph Klein, Team USA.
Thursday, Dec. 22: Solaris Ice Rink in Vail, 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Featuring: Mirai Nagasu, Olympic medalist, U.S. National Champion; Tomoki Hiwatashi, Team USA; Ellie Kam and Danny O’Shea, Team USA pairs team; Alexe Gilles, Junior National Champion; Jordan Moeller, international medalist; Joseph Klein, Team USA.