Olympian Karen Chen headlines the Aspen Skating Club’s spring show
After not hosting a show last March due to the pandemic, the Aspen Skating Club is set to return to the ice at the Aspen Recreation Center for two shows on Saturday.
And to make up for the past year, the club tapped two-time Olympic figure skater Karen Chen to headline the annual spring showcase.
“The kids are really excited to put on another show this year,” said Teri Hooper, club figurehead and head coach. “We did well with what we offered our city in terms of expertise and elite skating. But, yeah, it’s really exciting that she really got off the plane and is coming here, and then in two weeks, she’s going to the worlds. So she’s always training and kind of putting us between her main events.
Last month, 22-year-old Chen competed in her second Olympic Games and helped the United States to silver in the team event.. The Californian – her parents are from Taiwan – also plans to compete later this month in the world figure skating championships in France.
But, between the two biggest competitions of the season, the 2017 national champion is planning a pit stop in Aspen as she did many years ago as one of the country’s top emerging talents.
“Karen skated our show when she was 14,” Hooper recalled. “She came and skated our show that year and that year when I was looking at who to bring in, I was like, ‘You know, she’s going to the Olympics and it would be really cool if she could come back and visit at new Aspen. ,’ and she agreed to come. I’m really excited to have it.
Chen is part of an impressive list of skaters who have competed in the Aspen Skating Club’s spring show, including Aspen’s own Olympian in Jeremy Abbott. Olympian Mirai Nagasu and international competitor Alex Johnson made headlines in 2019 and 2020.
While the annual spring show often draws attention because of Olympians like Chen, it is truly a showcase and fundraiser for the club’s skaters, who, like everyone else, have overcome many challenges related to the pandemic last year in order to stay on the ice.
“Our program is doing very well right now. He’s growing up,” Hooper said. “Our retention has been pretty good during the pandemic. Sure, we were completely shut down for a while, but once we got up and started again, we had good retention.
Chen will help wrap up a program this year that features about 50 local skaters, from the little ones still learning to perform, to the six high school students who will take to the ice. The theme for 2022 is “Broadway on Ice” and will include songs from many popular Broadway shows.
“People will enjoy the music selections we’ve made. It will be familiar, unless they know absolutely nothing about Broadway,” Hooper said. “I tried to cover different eras and didn’t quite follow the order of the shows that way, but tried to build on the older shows as well as the newer shows.”
Hooper said he expects songs from shows such as Chicago, Sweet Charity, West Side Story, Grease and Wizard of Oz to debut. She expects performances to continue even after the skaters leave the ice.
“You’ll go out singing Broadway songs. One that clicks for you and is familiar to you,” Hooper said. “I tried to keep it family-friendly, of course, because our shows are always aimed at families and kids.”
There will be two shows on Saturday, the first at 2 p.m. and the second at 5:30 p.m., both at the Lewis Ice Arena. Tickets can be purchased online at aspenshowtix.com or at the door; children under 5 are free, ages 5-17 are $10, and adult tickets are $25.
Hooper said all on-ice tickets have already sold out, but there are plenty of general admission seats left.