General Information on Skating Programs

31Welcome to the figure skating programs offered by the Minto Skating Club. The purpose of this section is to help skaters  and parents understand the various programs and how they fit into a skating development model.

Almost all skaters begin with the CanSkate program. This is the basic learn to skate program that teaches the required full range of fundamental skating skills needed for success in either figure skating or hockey.

Once a student has reached Level 4 in CanSkate, they can continue with Levels 5 and 6, or if the CanSkate session is ending, they may switch to either the Minto Starters Group Lessons, or even Private Lessons. The Minto Starters group lessons begin teaching skills not covered in CanSkate.

Once a skater has skills equivalent to the CanSkate Level 6, he or she is considered to be a Pre-Preliminary skater. (This term comes from one of two formal testing programs available to figure skaters - the STARSkate Program and the Competitive Program. The Preliminary level is the first level of the STARSkate program:  a Pre-Preliminary skater is a skater who is working on but has not yet attained the Preliminary level skills.)

Test days are scheduled at regular intervals throughout the skating season.  Notice is posted when a test day is coming up, coaches will advise skaters who are ready to test, and the skater signs up for one or more tests. A schedule is drawn up and posted.  On the test day, Skate Canada judges assess the skaters’ skills.  Tests are completed within both the STARSkate Program and the Competitive Program.

The Minto Starters and private lessons both prepare a student to take their Preliminary level test. Once this test is completed, most skaters commence private lessons and begin working towards their next level, Junior Bronze.  After Junior Bronze, most skaters decide if they wish to enter competitive figure skating. If they do, they continue in private lessons, but switch to taking tests within the Competitive program. Within this program, skaters can follow a series of levels, tests, and competitions leading all the way to the National, International, and Olympic levels of competition.

For skaters who wish to pursue advanced figure skating but without the accelerated pressures of the Competitive program, the STARSkate program offers additional levels (Senior Bronze, Junior Silver, Senior Silver, and Gold). These are also learned through private lessons. STARSkaters may also enter a variety of competitions, most of which are referred to as Invitationals (because  the club hosting the competition invites all interested skaters to compete).
As skaters develop and move into higher levels, they skate more frequently. At the CanSkate level, a skater will usually take one lesson a week. A Minto Starter might take one Minto Starter lesson and one CanSkate or private lesson a week. Skaters working on their Preliminary or Junior Bronze levels usually take 2-4 private lessons per week. Senior and National level competitive skaters generally train 2 to 3 hours per day.
Each skater finds his or her own path to meet personal goals. Figure skating in Canada allows skaters of wide range of interests and dedication to find an enjoyable and rewarding path in the sport.

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