Speed skating season set to start

The Nelson Speed Skating Club is about to begin it's 2013-2014 season and has five skaters from Castlegar and others from around the region.

Nelson Speed Skating Club member Darrell Rasmussen rounds a curve.

The Nelson Speed Skating Club is about to begin it’s 2013-2014 season and those interested in the sport can learn more during registration at the multi-purpose room at the Nelson & District Community Complex on Saturday, Sept. 28 between 12:15 and 2:15 pm.

The club has skaters from all over the West Kootenays, including five from Castlegar, ranging in age from five to 68. While most compete in B.C. racing events, the club also has members who join either for the fun, the exercise or just to learn a new sport. The club also has members whose goal is to improve their conditioning and skating techniques for hockey.

Darrell Rasmussen, former Canadian National Team member, returns for a second straight year as a coach, joining head coach Jason Hartleb and junior coach Emily Musa.

The club was guided to a successful season last year with Rasmussen’s help. Many of last year’s athletes are returning and the club hopes to attract new members to experience the fast thrills of short track racing.

Among those returning is Tyler Hartleb, 15, the current B.C. Long Track Champion and four of his siblings, Ryan, Ian and Kaetlyn. Castelegar resident Mercedes Phillips is also on the team.

Hartleb has been alternating practices between Kelowna, Calgary and Nelson as he trains towards the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George. He has been training for both long track and short track and given his progress should qualify for both. If successful, he will have to choose one of the two to represent BC at the Games. Other members are training for the 2014 B.C. Winter Games to be held in Mission in February in addition to events in other communities like Kelowna, Kamloops and Salmon Arm. Practices begin the first week in October and continue until mid-March. Members can choose to skate up to three times per week depending upon their skill level and goals.

Former  members who have gone on to greater speed skating exploits are Scott Bickerton (Nelson) and Ashley Nelson (Crescent Valley), who are both now with the National Long Track Development Team.

The club offers a 10 week “learn to speed skate” program and has speed skates for rent — although hockey skates are okay for newcomers.

Registration for new and returning members for the 2013/2014 season will take place in the multi-purpose room at the Nelson & District Community Complex on Saturday, Sept. 28 between 12:15 and 2:15 pm. Speed skates can be rented at this time.

Anyone interested in trying out for the sport should contact head coach Jason Hartleb at 250-304-4416 for more information.


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