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Skaters get a lift

Jump harness donated to Clifton Park Ice Arena

Abagail Smentkowski lands a jump while in the harness at a recent practice at the Clifton Park Ice Arena. Submitted photo.

Abagail Smentkowski lands a jump while in the harness at a recent practice at the Clifton Park Ice Arena. Submitted photo.

— It might be the dead of summer, but for those who are truly passionate about winter sports like figure skating the season never ends.

Now, young figure skaters in Clifton Park are getting a boost —literally and in terms of confidence — via a jump harness that was installed at the Clifton Park Ice Arena several weeks ago.

The harness is one four within the Capital District. Other rinks set up with the harness are the Weibel Ice Rink in Saratoga, the YMCA rink in Delmar and the Knickerbacker Ice Arena in Troy. The rig was donated by the Albany Figure Skating Club.

“It’s the one item that they (Clifton Park Ice Arena) didn’t have,” said Club President Vincent Smentkowski.

He approached Rink Manager Scott Bobrow about getting the harness and thus started an effort that spanned three years. Many individuals and businesses pitched in to purchase the jump harness, which cost $4,700. It might have taken a few years but to those with a vested interest, it’s been worth the wait.

“I am thrilled that the Albany Figure Skating Club was able to raise the funds in order to purchase and install this equipment at the Clifton Park Ice Arena. We have many fine skaters in the area, and I am looking forward to seeing all of our local skaters make use of this new harness to improve their jumps,” Smentkowski said.

Alpin Haus, Bank of America, the Clifton Park Ice Arena, Halfmoon Family Dental, Hoffman’s Car Wash Helping Hands Program, Panera Breadand Stewart’s Shops, as well as the Kuglin, Olsen, Gault and Smentkowski families all pitched in.

Bobrow said that the apparatus has been getting a lot of use lately and that the addition was good for area figure skaters.

“It’s been very well received and getting a fair amount of usage,” he said.

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