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SKATE INTO 2009: Family-oriented event slated at the Olympic Oval New Year’s Eve

December 24, 2008
NAJ WIKOFF, News Correspondent
LAKE PLACID — Would you like something different and fun to do this New Year’s Eve — an event that the whole family can enjoy? Then grab your skates, your friends, your kids and come to the Olympic Oval for a skating party that begins at 10:30 p.m. and goes through midnight to 12:30 a.m. There will be music, free refreshments, lots of ice and no alcohol. Best yet, 100 percent of the admission fees and money taken in from skate rentals will be used to help area children learn how to skate or participate in figure skating, speed skating or hockey.

The event is the brainchild of 18-year-old Christie Sausa. Two years ago she heard guests at her family’s motel ask what there was to do on New Year’s Eve, things that they could do with their families or that did not involve going to bars. Christie likes to skate. She thought, why not have a skating party? Last year, with the help of ORDA, CYC (Connecting Youth and Community Coalition of Lake Placid and Wilmington) and a lot of volunteers, she tried out the idea and it was a huge success — nearly 800 people showed up.

Once again ORDA is donating the ice, a Zamboni to clean and prepare the ice, and an EMT for safety. CYC is helping with promoting and financially supporting the benefit. Starbucks is donating hot chocolate. Bev and Phil LaLonde are donating the skate rentals. The Lake Placid Speed Skating Club, the Skating Club of Lake Placid and the Lake Placid Youth Athletic Association (hockey) will share equally in the proceeds, while the Saranac Lake Figure Skating Academy will benefit from the skate rentals. Area kids will get access to free skates, skating lessons, hockey sticks, and other programs and services provided by the skating associations, who will also help by providing refreshments and volunteers for the evening.

“Last year I was the refreshments coordinator; this year I have been upgraded to box office,” laughed Rickie Ann Canny, who is involved with both CYC and local skating programs. “I am volunteering my time because it’s a way to give back to the community, so families can have a fun thing to do New Year’s Eve, and because I want to provide kids a chance to participate in a time of ending and new beginnings. It’s a great thing, and I’m for events that support the youth of today. We had a lot of people joining us from out of town last year and they had a really great time.”

“We have many new young members who cannot afford to purchase skates or take lessons,” said Linda Sausa, president of the Lake Placid Speed Skating Club. “This event will allow them to come out and enjoy something they love doing.”

“We are thrilled to be a part of this alcohol-free event for our community,” said Laura McDonald on behalf of ORDA. “We appreciate all the parties involved who are working so hard and donating so much to make it happen. ORDA is pleased to donate the ice for such an event, as we have always put the youth of the community foremost in our planning.”

“I really wanted to start it because the people in town had no alternatives on New Year’s Eve, and I wanted to give back,” said Christie Sausa. “I know what it means to have a difficult time affording your sport. I wanted to help others get started, especially with an ice sport because that’s what I love.”

Skating is also the sport that put Lake Placid on the map as the capital of winter sports in America, first with speed skating launched by native Charles Jewtraw, who won the first gold medal awarded at the first winter Olympics, solidified with Jack Shea’s double gold in the 1932 Olympics, and continued with such greats as Jeanne Ashworth and Eric Heiden. Then came figuring skating with Sonja Henie’s wins in ’32, double Olympic men’s champion Dick Button, who trained here, and famed coach Gus Lussi. And finally hockey, most notably with the 1980 Miracle on Ice win over the Russians in the 1980 Games, but also with many individual athletes like Andrea Kilbourne and Mike Richter who have gone on to Olympic and or national prominence.

So come out and skate New Year’s Eve, have fun, and who knows, your participation may help launch the career of another young skater who will represent our nation at the highest levels. New Year’s Eve is a time of transition and of new beginnings. Where better to start but on the Olympic Oval where so many great transitions have taken place.

Article Photos

Vsitors enjoy a skate around the Olympic Oval.
Photo/Richard Rosentreter



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