Skater returns to run the show Niles’ Iceland skating rink
Amy Forbes, ice skating director at Iceland in Niles, skates in a professional performance. | Contributed photo
Updated: March 18, 2013 1:17AM
NILES — Amy Forbes, of Chicago, has been the ice skating director at Iceland skating rink in Niles for the past three years. Forbes, who took her first skating lessons at Iceland as a child, has performed in several shows and has choreographed various pieces for her skaters.
Q: When did you first take skating lessons at Iceland?
A: I was eight years old. My first lesson was at Iceland. I was a skater here my whole career until I was in college. I was a coach throughout college as well.
Q: What do you enjoy best about ice skating?
A: My favorite part of skating is the performances and skating in shows. And the costumes.
Q: What was your first job at Iceland?
A: My first job was in the ice arena. I worked in the concessions stand. I’ve had several other jobs with the Park District; I started coaching in 1994.
Q: What do you enjoy the most about teaching ice skating?
A: My favorite part of teaching (students) is keeping them with me through their college years and seeing them grow up. I have several students of mine that I mentored that are instructors now.
Q: What do you feel kids learn from ice skating and performing in shows in addition to the technical aspects?
A: A lot of the reason I stay in this sport and in coaching is the discipline they learn. They learn discipline and to be healthy and stay healthy and be committed to something. They learn how to prepare for many of life’s challenges. It takes a lot of courage to go out by yourself and skate a program. They learn how to deal with stressful situations.
Q: How have the families and the community responded to annual shows and ice skating in general?
A: Since I came on staff three years ago, our club — while primarily for skating — has a really good sense of community. We go to competitions together. Our parents are all volunteers for our competition in February and our ice show in May. We have a big support base.
Q: Have you competed in ice skating competitions?
A: As a child I was an individual competitor as well as a synchronized skating competitor (nationally). I also followed in the footsteps of my coach. I skated in professional shows and choreographed in professional shows.
Q: What advice would you give new ice skaters to help them be successful in ice skating?
A: I had a coach who said to me, “You can always coach forever, but you can’t skate forever.” Coaching is very rewarding. There’s always things you can do with your skating besides going to the Olympics.
Q: How did it feel to come back and be an instructor where you used to take lessons yourself?
A: It’s very surreal.