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Jo Ann Schneider-Farris and her husband Dan received word on March 12 that their three children — all professional figure skaters — would be coming home to live with them due to circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Things are a little crazy right now,” said Jo Ann, a figure skating coach and author, who has resided in the Broadmoor area for decades. “We’re trying to adjust like everyone else.”
Joel, 25, and Rebekah, 23, skate for Disney On Ice. The youngest sibling, Annabelle, 20, lives in New York City and teaches at The Ice Theater of New York while taking online classes at Pikes Peak Community College.
All three kids grew up training with The Broadmoor Skating Club and are all still members.
On the morning of March 12 the sports world began to shut down due to concerns over the pandemic. Joel was in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, with his Disney On Ice cast he was told that weekend’s shows were canceled, as well as the rest of the tour. “It was so unexpected,” Joel said. “I was thinking we’d be canceled for the weekend, but not the rest of the tour.”
Disney officials told Joel and the rest of the cast to go home. Several days later he was back in Colorado staying with his parents.
“I was on three different flights getting back here,” Joel said. “There were a lot of sick people around me. I was concerned about getting the virus, but I ended up being OK.”
Rebekah was in Phoenix with her Disney On Ice cast when she got word that the tour was canceled. She rented a car and headed back to Colorado to stay with her parents.
“The next week we were supposed to perform at The (Broadmoor) World Arena,” Rebekah said. “I was really looking forward to skating here. When I found out the tour was over I was crying. We all were crying.”
Rebekah and Joel’s Disney On Ice seasons were scheduled to end in May. They were laid off by Disney along with 5,000 company employees.
Rebekah already had a gig lined up to skate in South Africa this summer. That has also been canceled. Joel was scheduled to skate in Japan in June, but that has also been canceled.
“This whole thing is really strange,” Rebekah said. “We went from hearing (COVID19) was not going to affect us at all, to our lives being changed forever. It has layers to it. It’s surreal.”
Annabelle didn’t know it at the time, but she was living in the epicenter of the pandemic in her New York City apartment. When she got word that the Ice Center of New York was closing, as well as an art gallery where she was an intern, she rented a car, packed up her belongings and headed to Colorado.
“All the stores were closing, and the grocery stores were running out of food. The subways were empty, which was strange,” she said.
Annabelle plans to return to upstate New York next fall to begin classes at Binghamton University.
Jo Ann, knowing her kids would be coming back to Colorado, also had to figure out a way to care for 91-year-old father who resides alone in Larkspur. She and her husband decided to move to his home to care for him. Joel, Rebekah and Annabelle joined them.
“My dad has a big house with a lot of property, so we’re all doing well and settling in,” Jo Ann said. “We’re trying to make the best of the situation. We’re all so grateful we’re together.”
Pikes Peak Newspapers Sports Reporter
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