Home Community My Family’s Skating Life In 2018 – A Fun Skating Year!

My Family’s Skating Life In 2018 – A Fun Skating Year!

My Family’s Skating Life In 2018 – A Fun Skating Year!

Although my book MY SKATING LIFE was published in 2016, the Schneider-Farris family’s skating life and adventures just go on and on and there are always updates.  And…what a year 2018 was for my family’s skating life!  Yes, it seems that skaters just have one adventure after another….

Here’s a summary of all that went on in my family’s skating life in 2018:

The year began with me giving my grand nieces and nephews the gift of ice skating.  I bought them a group lesson series of beginning skating lessons and bought one of my grand-nieces a new pair of ice skates.  It was “just plain fun” to watch them get better each week and skate with them.   I especially loved it when my nephew Cody “spun” his daughter Mia under his arm and when my grand-niece London showed me her beautiful extended one foot glide!  There’s nothing like seeing the smiles ice skating brings to faces!

Of course February 2018 was taken up with the excitement of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.  It was an emotional thing seeing my children’s long time coach, Dalilah Sappenfield, bring the pair team of Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim to the Games.  Chris has been a skating friend of our family’s since 2005 when my kids took part in his mother’s production of Cats On Ice, so it was very exciting to see him at the Olympics, but of course, we cheered for all of the figure skaters in Team USA and saw the Americans win a team bronze medal.  It was difficult to see Nathan Chen’s mishap in the Short Program, but also it was nice to see him redeem himself in the free skate.  Mirai Nagasu’s historical triple Axel landing at the Olympics is a moment we will never forget.  We were happy to see the Shubutani siblings medal in ice dancing since we’ve known and admired them since they were young skaters, but it was also difficult to see Zach Donohue and his partner Madison Hubbell narrowly miss winning a medal  (because of one little stumble) since my kids trained with him at one time.

My son Joel completed his fourth year touring with Disney On Ice Frozen.  In February, our family visited Joel in Washington D.C. where Frozen was performing and we had a wonderful week of learning and site-seeing together.

Another highlight of the Spring of 2018 was when his show came to Colorado Springs.  Joel was featured on the live local television news in late March!  Then, when the show was in Denver, Joel was featured on other news shows, both on television and on the radio.  I got to get to know some of his friends in the Frozen cast and we even went skiing together!

Also, in March 2018, my daughter Rebekah took part in her second audition for Disney On Ice when Frozen was in Colorado and in late April was offered a role in Disney On Ice Mickey’s Special Celebration.  This was and is especially exciting since that show is touring Japan and Asia and Australia and New Zealand in 2018-19.

Before leaving for Asia, Rebekah gave some private and group ice skating lessons and really enjoyed teaching skating.

After being honored by the Broadmoor Skating Club in early June for earning her sixth US Figure Skating Gold Medal, Rebekah left for Japan in late June to begin her show skating touring career.

I was fortunate to be able to travel to Japan to in late July to see Rebekah perform and climb Mt. Fuji with the cast in early August!

In July, Joel began his fifth season with Disney in the cast of Feld Entertainment’s newest show: Disney’s Mickey’s Search Party.  During the summer of 2018, while he was on break and before rehearsals began, he passed the Paso Doble and completed the Pre-Gold Ice Dance test and also passed the Senior Solo Free Dance test earning his second US Figure Skating Gold Medal.  He had the honor to work with Olympic Silver Medalist Benjamin Agosto who also helped him with choreography and presentation.  My former ice dancing partner, Richard Griffin really helped Joel with getting the timing on the Paso down and Trina Pratt did a great job partnering the dance.

Later in the summer of 2018, my father and I traveled to Sun Valley, Idaho with my daughter Annabelle.  During our two week stay, Annabelle worked on her last two International ice dances with coach Brent Bommentre and earned her seventh US Figure Skating Gold Medal when she passed both the Golden Waltz and Finnstep.  Our close friends Paul and Judy Steiner joined us in Sun Valley and were there to see Annabelle’s great accomplishment!

While we were in Sun Valley, Adult Skating Week was happening, so I got to participate.  (Paul and Judy also took part in Adult Skating Week.)  We made many new skating friends from all over the USA.  The adults cheered for Annabelle when she passed her tests!

I have come to the conclusion that Sun Valley’s Adult Skating Week was and is the best adult skating experience ever since skaters can take part in any or all of the skating activities offered and the atmosphere is so, so happy and welcoming.  I did figures on the outdoor ice sheet early in the morning and took part in Twilight Social Ice Dancing at night on the same ice sheet!  I learned a few things in the Coffee Club classes and made friends there.  I skated on the open public skating sessions while wearing my ice hockey skates.  It was fun to ride my Razor Lux Air Scooter to the rink each day too.

In early September, my dad and I ventured to Orlando, Florida to see the opening of Mickey’s Search Party.  I was so proud to see my son perform in what I consider Disney’s most unique (and perhaps the best) ice skating show.  In addition to seeing and interacting with the audience, Disney characters and skaters do acrobatic acts on the ice!

My niece, Phoebe Schneider, also joined Disney On Ice in 208 and is touring with Worlds of Enchantment.  Both my brother Billy, and sister-in-law, Amy are so proud of her.  They traveled to Rhode Island on Christmas Day 2018 to see her and see the show for the first time.  When her show travels to Colorado and California in 2018, I look forward to seeing her perform.

In late September and early October 2018, I attended my third World Figure Championship and Festival.  This year’s event took place in Vail, Colorado for the second year in a row.  I enjoyed “doing patch” every morning on the black ice sheet and ended up winning a trophy and three medals after I tested my outside and inside forward eights and my forward serpentines.  What a wonderful surprise that was!  At the festival I also experimented with doing figures in my ice hockey skates.

It was also really special to see ice skating show legend Richard Dwyer perform during the Fancy Skating Championship.  Dwyer is 83 “years young” and can still do Axels.  He performed with two Olympic Champions: Dorothy Hamill and Barbara Wagner.  Also, ice show star Mary Lu Shipstad and World Figure Champion Nancy Blackwell-Grieder took part in the performance.

During my daughter’s break from the show in October, 2018, Rebekah and I took a mother-daughter trip to San Francisco.  Not only did we ice skate in San Francisco, but we got to roller skate at the famous Church of 8 Wheels!

I also continue to skate for fun and exercise when I can.  For example, in the fall, I enjoyed skating with the folks who skate every Wednesday morning together at Paramount Iceland in southern California.  I also had enjoyed attending Nancy Blackwell-Grieder’s patch class at a YMCA ice rink in Colorado.  A highlight of that class is when Nancy showed us the Mohawk Eight.

I also continue to teach skating around my travels and and continue to make skating friends from all over.

As I write this on a snowy Colorado New Year’s Eve 2018, I anticipate more exciting Schneider-Farris family skating adventures in 2019!

Happy Skating!

JO ANN Schneider Farris

Further Reading:

Jo Ann Schneider-Farris Jo Ann Schneider Farris has participated in figure skating for most of her life as a competitor, coach, and author. Jo Ann was the Figure Skating Expert for About.com for 10 years. Jo Ann began skating as a young child. She won a silver medal in the junior dance event at the United States National Figure Skating Championships and is a US Figure Skating Double Gold Medalist. She coached figure skating and has trained skaters of all ages and levels. In addition, Jo Ann taught hockey players to skate and gave instruction in power skating. She is the author of two skating books: How to Jump and Spin on In-Line Skates, the only book of its kind on inline figure skating, and a personal memoir, My Skating Life: Fifty Plus Years of Skating. Jo Ann also has contributed articles that have been included on the US Figure Skating website and the icenetwork.com website, in SKATING Magazine, Ice Skating Institute's magazine, the Professional Skaters Association magazine, and she also wrote about ice skating for Examiner.com. She is a member of the Professional Skaters Association, The Broadmoor Skating Club, and U.S. Figure Skating. Jo Ann is a graduate of the famous Hollywood Professional School, a school that once was in southern California where many serious figure skaters attended, including Peggy Fleming. She is also a graduate of Colorado College and holds a teaching credential from California State University Long Beach. As a figure skating competitor, she trained under World Ice Dance Champion and Olympic Coach Doreen Denny and also Darlene Gilbert, who has trained international and national teams. From JO ANN Schneider Farris: Hi and Happy Skating! Yes, Happy Skating is my motto. I hope to share my love of the sport and my knowledge of it with you and my goal is to link skaters from all over the world on this site. Happy Skating! Please join me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or follow me on Google+ and Pinterest. Email me at joannfarris@yahoo.com


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