Alaine Chartrand spent a full day with the local figure skating community. James Snell/The Free Press

Famed Canadian figure skating champion comes to Fernie

Alaine Chartrand, famed Canadian figure skating champion, came to Fernie for a figure skating seminar on Saturday, November 16. The 23-year- old, who described herself as “old” offered lessons in skating technique and life. Chartrand was well received by children and parents.

Head coach Kathy Sutherland was happy for Chartrand’s visit, stating that the region doesn’t see too many high level athletes.

“I met Alaine in Vancouver when I went to a Skate Canada event there,” she said. “I asked her if she would come up here and do a seminar for us. She was very keen, so I contacted her and we arranged for her to come up. She taught almost 60 skaters, jumps and spins and had long ice sessions with them. Sutherland said that Chartrand spent the whole day with the children.

“We just had an hour-long talk with her,” she said. “She told us all about her career. I’m sure that was very inspiring for some of our skaters. They were pretty excited about her coming here.”

Mike Vanurk, who had two daughters at the event, said it was excellent training for all who attended.

“Learning some different things from someone other than their normal coach, someone who has been in competition [is good],” said Vanurk. “Teaching them the ups and downs and to persevere. It’s quite an opportunity being from a small town, having a chance to experience this, it’s quite exciting for them.”

Vanurk said their were also huge life lessons, “As a parent you can tell them as much as you want, sometimes they need to hear it from someone else.”

Chartrand, a two time Canadian Champion, gave an inspired talk from the Fernie Community Centre stage.

She spoke about life, hard work, sacrifice, disappointment and victory.

“I think through the experience of moving around everywhere, and not really having any consistency, I learned to be adaptable,” she said. “I learned good things from all of the coaches I worked with. It was a long career, so it’s hard to tell you all about it.”

Chartrand said that she struggled to find success as a child, but eventually fought her way to the top of Canadian figure skating.

“[My struggles] had a little bit to do with the system that was changing,” she said. “It was really frustrating to me. I didn’t win national championships in juvenile, pre-novice and in novice. In fact, I didn’t make it out of my sectionals until I got to novice. My first national championships was in novice. I was the runner up in juvenile. I missed it by .01 to go to nationals.”

Chartrand said that she fought through many ankle sprains during pivotal moments in her career.

“Probably the most challenging experience of my career was nationals 2018,” she explained. “I was primed to go to the Olympics. It was my chance. Everything was lining up for me. Unfortunately, I sprained my ankle the week before. I was at Olympic qualifiers with a sprained ankle.”

Chartrand iced the injury, wrapped her foot, and soldiered into the competition.

“I was competing for an Olympic spot injured,” she said. “I came in fourth and missed the Olympics. All the history leading up to that was that I should have gone. That was my last chance to go. It was unfair and I was angry.”

Chartrand is now a university student in Vancouver.

‘You’re going to go through tough times,” she said. “It’s part of it.”

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