SRFSC Member Information

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History of the Santa Rosa Figure Skating Club

The Santa Rosa Figure Skating Club (SRFSC) is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to promote and improve amateur figure skating.

To be recognized by the United States Figure Skating Association (USFSA), a club must formally apply for membership. The very first clubs to be chartered by the USFSA are now more than 100 years old (all are on the East Coast). The SRFSC has a proud, sixty-five-year heritage: we applied for membership in the USFSA in 1936, and after a two-year process we were granted a USFSA Charter in 1938.

In the 1930s, recreational ice skaters used a warehouse of Santa Rosa's Grace Bros. Brewery, which was located near what is now the Courtyard by Marriott at Railroad Square. The brewery warehouse required refrigeration, and a group of figure and hockey skaters received permission to "flood" a refrigerated area to create a skating surface. Eventually, the brewery rented them an entire warehouse room, where they established the first skating rink in the area.

In 1936 the hockey team moved to a college campus rink that was located on College Road. Many of those hockey players became part of the World Hockey Team, the equivalent of today's Olympic Hockey Team, and toured the world representing the United States of America.

The figure skaters remained at the brewery and began to grow in numbers. "Figures" at that time were very elaborate: skaters would painstakingly etch four-leaf clovers, fleur de lys, and other designs by tracing shapes in the ice fifty to sixty times. Very precise edges were required to create these minor masterpieces, but figures were the mainstay of skating in those years and were a required element of competition.

After becoming an official USFSA club in 1938, the SRFSC hosted its first Pacific Coast Competition around 1940/41. Raymond Alperth won the first Junior Men's event, and in later years he became a prominent ice skating judge in the Bay Area.

Information on the Club in the years around and following World War II is very sketchy, and there were several inactive periods. However, activity increased markedly in November 1961, when Skippy and Merle Baxter opened an ice arena on Summerfield Avenue (in the same location as today's Lakeside Cinema). The "Ice Arena in Santa Rosa" began performances for the public right from the beginning. Skippy was renowned as the "Premier Male Skater of American Ice Theater." He had landed the first-ever triple jump, perfected the back flip, and performed as leading man to ten-time World Champion Sonja Henie. (Skippy was inducted into the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2003.)

With the opening of the Ice Arena in Santa Rosa, the figure skating and hockey clubs had a new home. At that time, figure skating testing was conducted only for Novice, Junior, and Senior levels. For each level, skaters took essentially two tests in a single day: skaters first had to take a figure test and receive passing marks from all three judges; if they passed, they could then test their freestyle program. If they failed either of these, they had to re-take both the figure and freestyle tests at another time. It was during this period in our Club's history that SRFSC member Julie McInstry became Junior Ladies National Champion.

In 1969 the skaters moved again. On April 28, 1969, the Schulz family opened the Redwood Empire Ice Arena with Skippy Baxter as Head Professional Coach. The arena had taken over a year to build; it was and continues to be one of the best arenas in the country. (With its Peanuts-themed décor, the Redwood Empire Ice Arena has become popularly known as Snoopy's Home Ice.) Over the years, the arena has had several managers, including Warren Lockhart and Don Phillips. Craig Gates joined the staff in 1969 as an ice guard, became assistant manager in 1970, and served as general manager from 1973 to 2000. Roger Lake is the current general manager.

Over the years, the Club has hosted numerous competitions, including the C.C.I.A. Novice and Advanced competitions and Central Pacific Regional Championships. We have also hosted shows for the public on a regular and ongoing basis. Through the 1960s and early 1970s we featured a yearly "Swinging Spring" show, as well as a Holiday Recital in December, which consisted primarily of solo skaters.

The Club continues to produce a spring show in every even-numbered year, which never fails to pack the arena with enthusiastic audiences. Karen Kresge joined the Redwood Empire Ice Arena after leaving the Ice Follies and directed the Club's spring shows from 1976 to 1984. Lisa Navarro and Colleen Phillips have been involved with directing and choreographing the shows since 1986. Several of our coaches have appeared in and/or assisted with our shows over the years. We have been fortunate to feature many Olympic skaters in past productions.

The Club continues to grow and provide a variety of opportunities to Olympic-eligible skaters. Club ice time, special sessions, testing, exhibitions, synchronized team skating, competitions, and our bi-annual spring show are offered on a regular basis to skaters of all ages and ability levels. Members are eligible to purchase Club jackets, sweatshirts, and pins to help promote the Club spirit.

All Club members are encouraged to participate in its administration and functions; your involvement and input are essential to the vitality of the SRFSC. The Board of Directors meets the third Tuesday of every month. You are invited to attend a meeting or talk to a Board member about your ideas, concerns, or questions at any time. With your help and support, the Santa Rosa Figure Skating Club will continue to grow and improve throughout the new millennium.


Year Theme  Special Guest(s)
1980 On Ice  Robin Cousins
1982  Ice Images Scott Hamilton
1984  Our World on Ice Brian Boitano
1986 Born in the USA Judy Blumberg & Michael Seibert
1988 Seasons to Remember Tonya Harding & Jill Schulz
1990  To Fame & Fortune Snoopy
1992 Bark to the Future Ainis Lejins & Snoopy
1994  Whirls of Fantasy Snoopy
1996 Circus Afrique Snoopy
1998 The Fantastic Voyage  Snoopy
2000  Swingin' Through the Years  Snoopy
2002  There Is a Season…  Snoopy

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updated 10/20/2003