Figure Skating

Left to right: Sun Valley Skating - summer 1989
Craig & Mary Jane Penzo

Adult ice-dancing sessions nationwide are a great excuse to bring the skates along for any business or pleasure travel, or just to burn frequent-flier miles!


by Craig Pierson

Many USFSA members travel frequently for business, regular competitions, or for pleasure. While sorting out those frequent­ flyer cards, have you ever thought about packing the skates in your luggage? This past summer while planning a music and wind­ surfing vacation in San Francisco, my dance partner said "Throw in those skates-you won't regret it." She was absolutely correct. Four dance sessions highlighted the vacation before the music convention and the great windsurfing in the Sacramento Delta.

The members of the St. Moritz ISC gave a warm welcome and lots of partners. Bob Manners urged me to follow him to Foster City's mall for a second session on Thurs­ day evening. After all the skating it was hard to stay awake at the 11:00 PM organ concert at the Castro Theater!

With a business trip planned to New Jersey last October, I consulted my figure skating travel guide (the Club lists in the USFSA Rulebook) and called Tyrone Butler, then president of the South Mountain FSC in West Orange to get the dance schedules. I had skated at South Mountain Arena in 1981, enroute from Paramus, and had seen roller skating dances like the Harris Tango -- as beautiful as our ice dances.  Now South Mountain has a new main rink plus a prac­tice rink which we used while the main one hosted a Reagan-Bush-Quayle rally. Larry and Carol Mondschein made me feel at home and the others gave me a real workout, partnering for all the dances I had the energy to try. It sure beats bending elbows at the hotel lounge and looking for a running track before the next day's business.

By chance I found a roller dance-only ses­sion at Montvale, accompanied by live pipe organ music. After the Fourteen step, I watched the Argentine Tango, Dench Blues, Kilian, Paso, and gold waltzes danced with the grace of ice dancers. I will admit I am a lot more skittish about roller skating than ice skating but would urge readers that when ice is not available to try roller skating as a substitute. On the same trip, I had the pleasure of watching the Collegiate Dance champions Andrea and Martin Chow practice at the Essex-South Mountain session. What an inspiration.

Business in Houston in 1978 and Betsey Sparkman's invitation brought me to a dance session with the Houston FSC. Ten years later a vacation in Tacoma showed me the excep­tional hospitality of the Highland FSC and hosts Dorothy Zerck and Vivian Howland.

In all these adventures I have found warmth as a member of the skating fan1iyl and the pleasure of partnering with eager "strangers." The standardized dances are part of the glue that binds all skaters worldwide. I even danced a Fourteen step with an Austrian in Kitzbuhel in 1970. It's thrill­ing to skate easily with a new partner, each knowing what to expect of the other. You also find lots of improvement in your skating when motivated to try new dances and new moves, as well as finding out more details about the old familiar dances.

My partner Emily had raved about the Princeton Dance Weekends at the Prince ton SC where she used to be a member. So I decided it was time to travel just for danc­ing's sake to the Plymouth FSC weekend in November. The Club's president admitted he travels to a dance weekend almost monthly, and loves it. When I have had it with work and windsurfing, maybe I'll be as fanatical as Plymouth's President Albert Goldstein.

Pack up your skates on your next trip. I'll see you at the dance!

Craig Pierson began skating while a Doctoral candidate in chemistry at Penn State in 1968. He is currently employed by Exxon Refinery in Billings, Montana, where he helped to organize the Figure Skating Club of Billings in 1976. SKATING (U.S. Figure Skating Assoc.) MAY 1989 p.13

Figure Skating Club of Billings


Skating 2
Left to right: Hotel Cresta Palace, Celerina -Jan 1989, View of skating area from my room

Skating 3
Curling in Celerina

Skating 5
Top Left: Kathia and Craig seated
Top Right: Egidio and Craig standing
Bottom: Hotel Cresta-Palace breakfast buffet

Skating 6
Left to right: Mark & Vivian Dean, Rolf Bobzin pianist- his father composed "Liechtensteiner Polka"

Skating 7
St . Moritz hotels & polo grounds, Upper rightPontresina skating

Skating 8
Polo tournament and entertainment