By Dan Walton,
While he spends his week working as a financial planner at CMK Wealth, Invermeres Jason Elford spends a little time each week sharing with youngsters his lifelong passion: figure skating.
Similar to many Canadian children, Mr. Elford laced up his first pair of skates up to play Canadas favourite sport one he didnt initially excel at.
I was a crappy hockey player; I couldnt skate very well, he told The Pioneer. My parents said I had to take figure skating or I had to quit hockey, so I decided to take it up so I could stay in hockey. I did them both for a long time, but I had better opportunities in figure skating and there were more girls, so it was a clear choice.
After spending his youth honing the skill, Mr. Elford spent years competing at the national level. He then toured the globe for two years after he became a part of the Disney on Ice team, with which Mr. Elford performed throughout North America, Asia, Europe and Australia.
It was awesome; its as close to being a rockstar as you can get in figure skating, he said.
But now that Mr. Elford has settled down with regular office hours in Invermere, he enjoys sitting back and enjoying the up-and-comers of today.
Canadas been pretty strong, especially in mens and a few of the other events recently, he said. Its great to see.
Among the heap of talent in the country, Ottawas Patrick Chan was noted as a young Canadian athlete inspiring activity the sport.
Recent Canadian success seems to have spurred a lot of younger kids into thinking its a good sport to be involved in, he said. Weve got some good coaches here in Canada and kids just seem to be enjoying it. I think there are better role model-type skaters now, so they made the sport seem more achievable and a cool place to be, especially for guys.
In most figure skating communities around the world, the sport is dominated by females, which is one reason Mr. Elford appreciates the men who swim against the current and electrify audiences on a pair of figure skates.
A lot of good male skaters with strong personalities who act as good role models are taking up the sport, he said.
Figure skating gives you the ability to set goals, then track and achieve them, he said, along with teaching strong individual work ethic. And just like hockey, figure skating challenges participants with a lot of early mornings.
Its certainly not a cheap nor an easy sport to be involved in, he warned. So you need to have some dedication. But whether you make it far or not, its a great sport.