Every time Bree Chardonnens steps onto the ice, she feels free.
It is this sense of freedom that drives her to perfect her moves as a figure skater, and this effort has not gone unnoticed.
Last week, Bree was named Skate Canada B.C./Yukon Section STARSkate Athlete Of The Year, a prestigious award that far surpasses anything she has received to date.
The 13-year-old Sparwood resident is set to be presented with this award on Saturday, April 27 in Burnaby.
Bree previously skated with Sparwood Skating Club before switching to the Fernie club two years ago.
“When she first came here, she was pretty good, she had really good control of her edges and her balance,” said Kathy Sutherland, Fernie Skating Club head coach.
From a young age, Bree has always been eager to improve her skating.
When she joined the Fernie club, Sutherland saw this passion and knew she would develop into a talented young skater. In the past several years, she has seen the young skater’s skills grow exponentially.
“Because skating is so technical, you have to be pretty precise in how you do things and she fits that perfectly,” Sutherland continued.
“She wants to do everything correct and if she messes up, she repeats it over and over again and does it right. That’s why she’s learned so quickly.
“She’s a pretty great kid.”
Sutherland stressed that an award like this is no small achievement, as the nomination was open to any skater in B.C. or the Yukon currently enrolled in any STARSkate program.
Bree’s nomination by the club came with several moving letters of support, some pertaining to her leadership as a CanSkate coach. Her success in competition throughout the season, combined with these other achievements, helped her win the title of STARSkate Athlete Of The Year.
Since the age of four, Bree has had skates on her feet.
She strained to remember where her first competition was held, three years later. With so many competitions each year, it’s hard to remember.
The furthest she has travelled to compete is Kelowna.
This year, Bree is proud to say that she has perfected her double jumps, except for her double axel jump (2.5 rotations), which she is still working to perfect.
In March last year, while competing at the Super Series STARSkate Final in Kelowna, she placed 11th in the STAR 6 competition. There, she competed against older girls, some who were five years her senior.
One year later, Bree placed second out of 45 athletes. This year, she also won in the STAR 7 category and took the title in Bronze Interpretive skate.
For the season overall, she placed second in the STAR 6 skill category.
“I was really happy,” she said, explaining she had practiced hard for this competition.
Bree is on the ice five days a week, working to perfect her moves. Next year, she is excited to try out for the BC Winter Games. She will also move from the STARSkate program to a more competitive provincial category, Juvenile under 14.
Looking to the future, Bree said she hopes to continue skating for a long time.
When she eventually stops competing, she would like to remain on the ice to coach the next generation of skaters.