A person you should know: Ardelle Kloss Sanderson

July 11, 2008
Ardelle Kloss Sanderson has been a member of the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colo. since 1991. She was inducted that year along with Dorothy Hamill, Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner, Charles Tickner and six other well-known figure skaters. Ardelle has also been a member of the Lake Placid Hall of Fame since 1983 and an honorary member of the Skating Club of Lake Placid for many years.

When Ardelle finished competitive figure skating, she became a judge and official first at the national and then the international level serving as a judge at the Olympics in Innsbruck in 1964. In 1965, when Lake Placid was awarded the U.S. National Figure Skating Championships, she was chairman of that competition. At the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid Ardelle was appointed chairman of Figure Skating. In her 50-plus years of judging and training officials, Ardelle has probably done more to keep Figure Skating alive in Lake Placid than any other person.

Ardelle, now in her nineties, today lives just off Hillcrest Avenue. She first came to Lake Placid in 1934 to skate and compete for the Skating Club of New York under the tutelage of champion figure skater and professional, Willi Boeckl. She competed as a single, in pairs, and was a member of the “Championship Fours” team in the 1935 U.S. Nationals. (“Fours” were popular during the 1920s and 1930s).

In 1937, Ardelle married Lloyd “Smokey” Sanderson who had been coming with his family to the Lake Placid Club for many years. Lloyd Sanderson was nicknamed “Smokey” after he was “roped” into being a prop man for a Skating Club of New York carnival featuring the Minto Club of Ottawa. His job was to push a fire engine onto the ice.

The Kloss family lived in Manhattan, but spent summers in Lake Placid during the 1930’s when Ardelle was training. They rented a cottage until around 1950 when they purchased the Julian Reiss house on Hillcrest, now run by the Lysecks as a boarding house for figure skaters. At the Hillcrest house Ardelle and Lloyd Sanderson were able to have their own apartment. Ardelle’s father, Henry Kloss, while living in town operated a photography shop at the Lake Placid Club. Many of the early figure skating pictures, published in Skating Magazine in the 1930’s, were taken by Mr. Kloss who set up a “dark room” in the basement of the house to process his photographs.

In 1977, after the death of Lloyd Sanderson, Ardelle sold the family home on Hillcrest to the German Organizing Committee of the 1980 Olympics and bought property where the house was built that she lives in today.

I asked Ardelle some interesting questions about figure skating. Here is what she had to say.

Q: What has had the most influence on the direction of figure skating in recent years? A: The new judging system. The public doesn’t understand it and the audience has been lost. By putting the emphasis on extra points for elements, we have lost the beauty, flow, style and musicality which connects with the audience.

Q: Why did we buy into it and why do we continue with this system?

A: The ISU (International Skating Union) created it and requires that any country that wants to participate internationally, including in the Olympics, must abide by their rules.

Q: Who have been your favorite all time figure skaters?

A: Janet Lynn, womens; John Curry, mens; Irina Rodnina (with two partners over 10 years, Alexi Ulanov and Alexander Zaitsev), pairs; Shae Lynn Bourne and Victor Kratz, ice dancing.

Q: What would be your word of advice to young skaters today?

A: Be sure to complete your education.



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