By Breanne Massey

Pioneer Staff

A gathering unlike any other the Columbia Valley has seen will draw athletes and their families to the area in search of a unique competition this weekend.

The Columbia Valley Skating Club is hosting the East Kootenay Invitational Figure Skating Competition for children between the ages of five and 18 years old between Friday, January 15th to Sunday, January 17th at the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena in Invermere to highlight dances and skills from 200 skaters travelling from 25 participating clubs. There will also be two adults participating in the competition.

We put in a bid last year to host and we were awarded the competition, said Columbia Valley Figure Skating president Leanne Beddie. The weekend will encompass a Region High Test Day, which is closed to the Kootenay regional skaters to test dances and skills at a high level. Then, the competition starts at noon on the Friday with a solo dance event to start off, which is followed by the interpretive events, which are kids interpretation to a piece of music there are no element requirements in those.

On Saturday, January 15th, to start, there will be Star 2 girls and boys competing between 8 a.m. until 10:30 a.m.

(It) will be a free skate portion of the competition starting with kids in the Skate Canada Star program all the way up to pre-novice category, Ms. Beddie said.

The Star 3 girls and boys will compete between 10:40 a.m. until 1:10 p.m., which will be followed by the Star 4 girls until 2:45 p.m. and Star 5 girls until 4 p.m.

Following that, there will be senior bronze women, junior silver women, senior silver women, gold women and pre-juvenile women skating.

Sunday will be the Elements competition and the Star 1 event, which has all the little guys, concluded Ms. Beddie.

The criteria that each participant will need to meet has been clearly outlined in advance.

Weve brought 14 judges and data specialists in for the event from all over western B.C. and Alberta, said Ms. Beddie. From Star 5 and up, theyre competing for bronze, silver and gold. From Star 4 down, theyre mostly competing against themselves so theyre aiming to get a gold ribbon, but theyre judged on their performance and their skills that will get them either a bronze level rating, a silver or a gold.

All of the kids in the lower levels do walk away with a ribbon, but its based on their level of performance how well they performed different jumps and spins, she added.

For friends and family who are interested in watching the up-and-coming skaters pursue this challenge, more detailed information will be available during the competition.

Were going to post on the arena door when the local skaters are performing in case anybody is interested in coming down to see some of our local skaters compete, said Ms. Beddie. We have a raffle table and a 50/50 going on, and we would love support on those events Friday evening definitely has some entertainment value because the kids have some really neat interpretive programs.

Theres no fee to come down and watch the show, so enjoy.

To see the schedule for the invitational, visit