Sofia Anderson on the Ice: An Inside Look

Hanna Masri, Lifestyle Editor

In a sports world dominated by football, basketball and soccer one can often overlook the less widely-covered sports.

In Santa Barbara, where the annual average low is 59°F, ice sports are some of the most to go unnoticed.

This isn’t the case for junior Sofia Anderson who has been ice skating for five years.

Recently, Sofia shared her experience and insights about the sport, what has changed because of COVID-19 and what ice skating means to her.

Why did you start ice skating and what drew you to the sport initially?

“I was invited to an event shortly after Ice in Paradise opened, I thought it was fun so I started taking lessons.  Aside from the fact that I just really enjoyed it, it was just a pretty unusual sport to do in California so it was just cool to try something new.”

What is your favorite thing to do in ice skating?

“My favorite part of skating is to compete. I really enjoy the entire process from picking music, collaborating with my coaches to learn the choreography, finding a dress and the actual competition itself is a really rewarding experience.”

What are some lessons that you have learned from ice skating?

“I learned a lot from my coaches about technique, posture and even fitness so there are a lot of skills that apply off the ice. When I have participated in the Christmas shows, we usually do group numbers that require hours of rehearsal, and working in a group like that has taught me patience, teamwork and communication skills.

In addition, competing has really helped me to control my nerves because I tend to get anxious before I compete but I have learned how to calm my nervousness.”

What do you find the most interesting about ice skating?

“There are a lot of different elements that go into skating [and] it is really interesting to have a wide range of skills to learn.

For example, in a typical program, you are required to have a certain amount of jumps, combo-jumps, spins, combo-spins and a footwork sequence. So skating really comes with a lot of variety.

In addition, there are lots of different types of skating like singles, pairs and ice dance just to name a few. I focus on singles but I also spend a lot of time working on ice dance.”

What is your practice schedule like now and before Covid-19?

“Before COVID, I was skating about four to five times a week with usually two to three private lessons a week. With COVID, the rink has not been open very consistently with the state and county restrictions [but] when it is open, I try to skate about two days a week.

During the pandemic, my main two coaches moved out of state so I have been transitioning to a new coach while also revive all of the skills that I lost when the pandemic [first] hit.”

How do you practice?

“I usually skate on freestyle sessions which are ice times that are mainly for adequately experienced skaters and they usually last hour.

When I practice without a lesson, I spend 10-15 minutes warming up and physically getting warm because it is pretty cold until you get your body moving. Then I practice my jumps, spins, program, ice dances and some extra elements if I have time.

Private lessons are usually 30 minutes, so I just work one-on-one with my coach and I am given many corrections that I apply when I practice on my own.

Before the pandemic, I would try to do off-ice workouts once or twice a week but ever since the rink closed I have been trying to exercise as much as possible to stay in shape.”