Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

My adventures as an adult male figure skater in Tucson, Arizona Portland, Oregon Chandler, Arizona.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Tuesday Freestyle

I managed to get to the freestyle session tonight at the TCC. The ice was much better than Sunday. There were about 18 people on the session, but it was quite skateable even so. In looking around I realized I knew pretty much everyone there -- and Anna my coach was there. I'd not seen her since 9/8. It was really nice to see all these people out skating -- I felt very much at home.

I worked on lots of stuff; did my 10 waltz jumps -- about the same. I spent a lot of time on 3s, still working on those alt-3s with some slight improvement. Worked on edges a bit, and my BO edges seem slightly improved as well. Other than that nothing much to report, but it was very nice to be back on the ice.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Skating On Thin Ice

I was back on the ice today for the first time since 9/8, at our freestyle session at the TCC. It was a bit odd to be at TCC in the big arena skating. The session was pretty crowded (I think I counted 16 or 18 people), but we did a good job of keeping out of each other's way. It was really good to see everyone out and skating again.

I was very concerned how I'd do after so long off the ice; while it wasn't really that long it seemed like forever! However, after a few minutes I was feeling okay. I did my 10 waltz jumps (5 from standstill, 5 from crossovers) -- form was okay but I'm getting very little actual *jump*. Grrr! Besides that I worked briefly on practically everything, although I neglected crossovers badly. 3s were better than I remembered, and my power 3s are a little improved. I had one small fall, on the exit from a waltz jump; I don't think I had ever fallen from a waltz jump before. It wasn't a bad fall.

The ice was very, very thin (thus the title of this post) -- we managed to break down to bare concrete in a couple of places where the ice seemed exceptionally thin (about .5 inch, or maybe less!). It looks like they had just gotten the ice up, so I expect it will be better (thicker) later in the week. As it was, I think we all were very grateful just to have ice. Apparently, though, the ice will only be for this week, after which we will have to wait for the rink to re-open.

Many thanks to the Tucson Figure Skating Club leadership for arranging for this ice!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Icetime Available!

I got an email this morning from the secretary of the Tucson Figure Skating Club, stating that the club has convinced the Tucson Convention Center to bring their ice up a week early. We have some limited ice time available starting tomorrow! Two hours tomorrow 12-2, then one hour 7-8 p.m. next Monday - Thursday. Whoohooo! Cost for FS time will be $12/hour -- twice what we were paying but a heck of a lot cheaper than driving to Phoenix. I'm planning on going for an hour tomorrow, just to get back on the ice. I expect it will be frightfully crowded, even though the ice is limited to TFSC members due to insurance regs.

The other good news is that it appears that the rink owners are actively working to form/recruit a new management company and get the rink up in a matter of weeks. They also reportedly will be repairing the back ice that had been down for so long.

I'm really psyched!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Polar Ice Update

This just appeared on the Polar Ice website:


SEPTEMBER 22, 2005

To Our Valued Customers

CSC Health & Safety Engineering - Environmental has concluded testing of the Tucson facility confirming the presence of Black Mould Spores, air born contaminants and R22 refrigerant leaks. Due to continued refusal to make the necessary repairs required, effective September 23, 2005 Polar Ice Tucson Inc. will vacate the premises. Again we thank the Tucson Skating Community for your support and patronage.

Rink Coverage

Here's a story from today's Arizona Daily Star. The coach quoted was our "senior coach" (I always called her the "queen bee" of our coaches) -- a very, very talented coach who was one of Gustav Lussi's students. She taught me a few times. I sincerely hope that if the rink re-opens with new management that she'll consider a return to coaching.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Today's Rink Update

Sorry if this is boring to read, but it might be interesting for future reference...

The Arizona Daily Star has a complete article about yesterday's court hearing. Not much new since yesterday other than a quote from the head of the Tucson Women's Hockey League.

I sent an email to Polar Ice asking for info on a refund for my annual pass and other money they owe me, but no word back yet. There's an update on the Polar Ice website:


SEPTEMBER 16, 2005

To Our Valued Customers

We wish to inform our customers the results of the September 16, 2005 court hearing. Unfortunately W.B. Gateway L.L.C has refused to pay for equipment repairs that are needed to reopen Polar Ice Tucson. This is truly a sad day for us at Polar Ice Entertainment and the Tucson skating community, just as you have expressed your confusion and disappointment we also do not understand the intent and position of our landlord. Our commitment to continue in the Tucson market is without question, we will continue our best efforts to make this work. At this point the only positive information we can pass on is that a court trial date has been scheduled for January 2006. In the next two weeks we will diligently be working to honor all your refund requests for services not rendered. We Thank You for all your support and patience.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Today's Rink Update

The Arizona Daily Star is reporting (there will be a full story tomorrow, I'm sure):

At a pre-trial hearing Friday, the owners of a shuttered ice rink complex said they'll attempt to reopen it under different management.

"We want to get it open again for kids and families that have been put out since Polar Ice closed it," said David Williamson, a representative of WB-Gateway LLC.

Tempe-based Polar Ice Entertainment, which managed the facility at 7333 E. Rosewood St. since its purchase by WB Gateway last May, closed the rink down Sept. 9. It was Tucson's only public rink. The company's Web site stated that "reoccuring mechanical and environmental potential safety hazards" prompted the closure.

The company has sued landlord WB-Gateway, charging that it failed make promised and much-needed repairs to the sub-floor of the complex, which have resulted in a buildup of permafrost that could lead to a "catastrophic failure," and makes the complex wholly unusable.

WB Gateway maintains that maintenance and repair of the sub-floor is Polar Ice's responsibility, and that Polar Ice owes substantial money in property taxes and rent.

Polar Ice has now ended its lease agreement and has no intention of re-opening the complex, said the company's attorney Melvin Cohen.

Cohen agreed to replenished a $300,000 letter of credit provided that WB Gateway would agree to abstain from withdrawing any money from it until the court has resolved the dispute. WB Gateway had withdrawn about $112,000 for taxes, rent and late fees.

The owners did not specify a possible opening date.

The Polar Ice site said yesterday:


SEPTEMBER 15, 2005

To Our Valued Customers,

Since the temporary closure of Polar Ice Tucson we have received many inquiries regarding refund information. As many of our customers know we are scheduled for a courting hearing on Friday September 16, 2005. Once the hearing is complete Polar Ice Entertainment will layout and announce a timeline and do our best to honor all refunds in a timely manner. We Thank You once again for all your support and patience.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Yet Another Update

From the Polar Ice website today:


SEPTEMBER 13, 2005

Unsafe Gases Confirmed by Landlords Refrigeration Expert

W-B Gateway L.L.C., which is the Polar Ice Tucson facility Landlord, had David Kennon of American Conditioned Air inspect the premises. David concurred with the Polar Ice refrigeration technician, advising W-B Gateway staff that the facility had mechanical failures with the presence of dangerous gases within the building. Mr. Kennon further advised W-B Gateway representatives not to enter the premises due to the dangers of inhaling the gases.

As Promised, we will continue to update our valued customers as information becomes available.


From today's Arizona Daily Star editorial page:

Leaving young hockey players out in the cold

Imagine eliminating youth soccer for a couple of hundred participants. Overnight. With a big tournament coming up. That's just what happened when Polar Ice closed Friday. As many as 350 regulars used the center at 7333 E. Rosewood St. - figure skaters, an in-house league, and the 100 or or so under-18 members of the Tucson Ice Dogs team.

It's not like they can switch to a different field. This is all there is in the Tucson area. Why the rink closed remains a mystery, with the operators claiming mechanical and environmental problems and the landlord saying pshaw. A court hearing is scheduled Friday.

"If nothing works out with them, they're OK; we're up a creek without a paddle," Ian Armstrong, Ice Dogs coach, said in an interview Monday. He asked his players whether they still want to play in a multi-state tournament this weekend in Phoenix. They said yes. They might get some practice time up there.

Whoever's at fault, and however this works out, these kids deserved better.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Update On Closure

Polar Ice has some reaction to the newspaper article from yesterday on their website. The most disturbing part of this is that if lawsuits are flying it's a sure bet there will be no quick resolution to this issue. *sigh* Here's what they said:


SEPTEMBER 11, 2005

A message from Polar Ice Entertainment, Inc. President

To our valued customers:

There is nothing more important to us than the safety of our customers and guests. Since leasing the facility in Tucson (April 15, 2004), we have used our best efforts to work with our Landlord to maintain a safe facility that would bring our customers a fun experience. Unfortunately, due to inaction by our Landlord, the conditions of the mechanical equipment worsened to a point that we cannot allow facility access to our employees or customers. A lawsuit was filed in Arizona Superior Court Pima County against our Landlord (WB – Gateway, L.L.C). We have a court hearing date on Friday September 16, 2005. We will update you further upon the completion of the court hearing. Many of you have visited our other facilities within Arizona as well as other parts of the country. You know the type and quality of our facilities and the manner in which we provide for our customers. While some have made fabricated statements in the press, I ask that you judge us on who we are and the manner in which we operate our facilities and business.

We remain committed to returning to the greater Tucson region in the future.


Brad Berman
President, Polar Ice Entertainment

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Update On Closure

I ran by the rink today to see if there was anything posted, but the only thing there was a copy of what's on the website. There's a story in the Arizona Daily Star today about it including interviews with the former owner. There's skepticism about what's really going on here.

It's really incomprehensible to me that an metro area of almost a million cannot support an ice rink.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Eeeep! Ice Closure

I received a phone call and email today stating that Polar Ice Tucson was closed due to some problems. From the website:


To Polar Ice Valued Customers.

Since taking over the ice facility here in Tucson , AZ Polar Ice has been committed to serving our customers and providing services that have enhanced skating, leisure and recreational experiences. Part of our effort has been to ensure that the facility and ancillary equipment operated correctly and efficiently. Polar Ice has gone to great lengths in the way of repairs and upgrades to accomplish this goal. However due to reoccurring mechanical and environmental potential safety hazards, we are forced to make the difficult decision to close Polar Ice Tucson for an undetermined period of time.

This facility will remain closed and secured and will not reopen until repairs are completed and the facility is deemed safe to enter. We will be working directly with the property owners to correct all existing mechanical and identified hazards in a timely manner.

We value your patronage and cannot stress enough our commitment to providing our customers with the services they expect. Please stay in touch by visiting our website for updated information concerning this situation. Customers may also request further information by contacting our corporate office via e-mail at polaricetucson@polariceent.com We will also be sending e-letters to registered members providing updated information as it becomes available. We thank you in advance for your support and patience and look forward to seeing you back on the ice in the near future.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Tape Terror

For today's lesson, Anna videotaped me doing an Adult Pre-Bronze Moves test runthrough:
  • Stroking
  • Edges - FO, FI, BO, BI
  • FXOs
  • BXOs
  • Waltz-8
We skipped the new pattern since we've not gone over it yet.

For some reason I was extremely nervous -- even though I'd practiced most of it beforehand! Gaaah! So on that score it was a good experience, just to feel what it's like to go through it with my nerves running amok (and Anna said, "Just imagine how you'd feel for the test!").

After the FS session we spent a few minutes going over the tape.... ack! I was expecting not to be happy... and indeed, I'm not. Sheesh! NO extension (well, almost none), toepushing all over the place, looking down a lot... I guess seeing this stuff could either make you want to give up entirely or redouble your efforts. The good news is that it's primarily the latter reaction for me. So... I guess I'll be working on that stuff.

I'll try to find a way to make some excerpt or other available -- I expect it will be waaay too long to post the whole thing.

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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

More Salchow Prep Etc.

Today's lesson:
  • FXOs -- at least lip service to them (we'll probably do more tomorrow). Just a little time on them. Anna says my timing, transitions and consistency are good, but the two most important major things that need fixing are still extension and fixing the toepush on the underpush. If I can get that stuff straightened out, we can work on finer points. Anna said also that I'm too far forward on my blade and (how many times have I heard this?!) I need to push from the heel more, which will help my extension too.
  • Waltz jumps -- we mostly worked on timing, and getting the extension and collect to be stronger/better/more secure, with some success. I really need to just ride that back edge more, though, and be more secure in it. As it is, I tend to rush the collect into the step forward so it's all a hodgepodge.
  • Salchow prep -- still working on learning this jump. We worked on the rise and square (see Tracy's excellent description here). So the emphasis is on doing the LFO3 as straight as possible, holding that LBI edge, rise and square, then bend the knee to force the curve, flick and jump. I can do most of that :-). Ironically one of the problems I'm having is that I've been so trained to look where I'm going on these turns, so I'm facing the wrong direction after the LFO3 for the jump! I need to go ahead and let myself face the other way (looking over the left hand) after the 3, and also need to work on bringing the free arm and leg in at the same time. Still, we made some good progress on this today.
  • Power-3s -- we spent a little bonus time on these. Anna says I need to work more on opening the hip just before the step forward, and being in a better position for the step forward and new lobe. Of course I still need to work on waiting and placing the turn at the top of the lobe.
After the lesson I asked Anna about videotaping, and she said she was planning on bringing her videocamera tomorrow anyway -- she asked, "Will that work, or is that too soon? Do you need more time to obsess about it?" I love my coach... So I told her I wanted to tape a moves runthrough and she thought that would be good (and also that it would have good nostalgia value later).

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Monday, September 05, 2005


I went skating today at adult session; due to a late arrival, only about 50 minutes of skating. Since I had not skated since last Thursday (!) I tried to work through a little bit of everything -- 10 waltz jumps (okay), stroking, FXOs and BXOs (about the same), waltz-8 (a little deteriorated), 5-step Mohawk (ditto), and power-3s (a little improved, actually).

I had my first fall in a while -- not a bad one at all, just a little oops when working on 3s I think. It had really been quite a while since my last fall so I felt a little relieved to get it over with.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Another Dorky Day

At last week's early morning lesson, I felt pretty loose and good. Today, I just felt dorky and off and wanted to be sleeping.

Today's lesson:
  • FXOs -- as usual we spent our weekly time on these. My first batch out of the gate were definitely improved from, say, two weeks ago. We're still working on eliminating the toepush on the underpush -- I suspect this will take a long time. I still need to remember the extend & flex, and Anna reminded me I still need better extension.
  • BXOs -- Just a couple of minutes on these. The CCW ones are still quite stinky, still need to keep the right hip pulled back and get better kneebend. They are really scratchy. The CW ones are not that bad.
  • Waltz jump -- we worked on having better timing into the jump, really holding the BO edge and the collect; also looking up and getting a better jump. Anna said I need to work at having the step-through a little earlier so that I lead with it a bit more.
  • Salchow prep -- back at this for the first time in a while. Anna worked with me to hold the exit of the LFO3 straighter, with a better check. I need to work these on my own.
For my next lesson (we are moving to Wednesdays lunchtime and Thursday a.m.) Anna wants to work more on the salchow, specifically the "rise and square."