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by MIMI WHETSTONE Te atmosphere at the renowned Broad-

moor hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo., had an air of camaraderie in early April as familiar faces greeted each other from across the crowded bar. Laughter echoed throughout the mezzanine and hugs were given in abundance as a generation of Broadmoor skaters gathered to celebrate their history at what they hope will become an annual reunion. “I’m seeing people I haven’t seen in 25

years,” Vanessa Moore Imberg, a pairs skater at the arena from 1986 to 1988 said. “It’s amazing.” Imberg, who resides in the Bay area, was one of approximately 75 former Broadmoor athletes who attended the three-day reunion, organized by former Broadmoor skaters Eric Pierson, Krista Schulz, Carla Schulz-Oyster, Ellen Squires, Jenni- fer Juhl-Owens and Jennifer Malman-Compton. “Even just driving here, the memories start-

ed flooding in,” Imberg said. “I remember walk- ing around the lake, seeing my friends and all of the competitions and shows that took place here. It’s fantastic.” From 1938 to 1994, the Broadmoor Ice

Palace housed generations of American figure skating. Renamed World Arena in 1961, the facility held six U.S. Championships and five World Championships. For 56 years, the aptly nicknamed “Home of Champions” served as the primary training site for numerous Olympians and figure skating champions before ultimately being torn down in early 1994.

Lorenzo Fassi and Brigitta Zollinger Francoeur

Alumni of the Broadmoor Skating Club who attended the reunion in April are (back row, l-r) Eric Pierson, Damon Allen, Gayle Nichols, Ellen (Clark) Squires, Vanessa (Moore) Imberg; (middle left, l-r) Eddie Shipstad, Staci Corirossi Baer, Lorenzo Fassi, Krista Schulz, Megan Laughlin, Marc Renjard, Jennifer Juhl-Owens, Tiffany Severa, Buddie Juhl, Janet Champion, Nichole Belford; (middle right, l-r) Carla Schulz-Oyster, Becky Calvin, Jennifer Malman-Compton, Katie Carlos Rice, Amy Jaramillo, Jennifer Heurlin-Brenne, Christine Binder Fowler, Denise Long Needham, Jere Michael; (attended but not pictured) Brigitta Zollinger Francoeur, Erik Schulz, Johnathan Stine, Christy Krall, Jennifer Malman-Troil, Carolyn Kruse, Debbie and Bud Juhl, Lucca Fassi

“It’s so incredibly special to be here,” Brig-

itta Francoeur, a skater at the Broadmoor from 1985 to 1994, said. “I live in Erie, Pa., now, but I decided to make the trip because I really wanted to see everyone and the facility how it is now, without the ice arena. It’s sad to see, but we all shared something really special here.” Beginning with a meet and greet in the

hotel’s bar and mezzanine area on Friday night, April 12, the festivities continued throughout the weekend, including skating and bowling outings, a visit to the U.S. Figure Skating Museum and Hall of Fame and walks around scenic Cheyenne Canyon, located near the hotel’s grounds. “Tere’s a sense of family behind the rink

and the skaters that the Broadmoor fosters,” Schulz, who now works as the food and bever- age marketing and public relations manager for the acclaimed hotel, said. “We lived here, we ate here, we slept here and skating was just part of our shared experience. Tat’s something you don’t see all in one place anymore. Not every- one who has roots with the Broadmoor skating family was a member of the Broadmoor Skating Club, so I think getting everyone together is an extremely important aspect of this reunion.” One esteemed member of the Broadmoor

skating family was Carlo Fassi, who was appoint- ed the facility’s chief instructor in 1961. Fassi

12 JUNE/JULY 2013

coached several U.S., World and Olympic cham- pions throughout his respected career, including Dorothy Hamill, Scott Hamilton, Paul Wylie and Peggy Fleming, who moved from California to Colorado Springs to work under his tutelage. While Fassi’s son, Lorenzo, was never active on the ice, his memories of the Broadmoor World Arena are just as treasured as those who were. “I didn’t skate, but I was here all the time,

always running around the facility,” Fassi said. “Some of the people who had confirmed they were coming tonight have known me since I was 2 years old. I couldn’t have missed it. It is an absolute pleasure to see everyone after so many years.”

Te event’s organizers, who came up with

and planned the idea through Facebook, hope to make the reunion an annual event, ultimately reaching out to more and more former Broad- moor skaters, especially those who aren’t active in social media. “If we can make this annual, that would be

great,” Schulz-Oyster said. “When you skate to- gether as teenagers, you grow these bonds that are so different from even a high school reunion. We all skated together, we cried together, we worked out together. You know, figure skating is a hard thing to do, but we went through it together.”



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