Young skater aims to honour deceased stepdad

A young figure-skater from Ponoka is headed to Alberta Winter Games to represent Zone 4 when the games

Skye Whitford during a performance in a competition held last year.

A young figure-skater from Ponoka is headed to Alberta Winter Games to represent Zone 4 when the games, hosted this season in Banff and Canmore, get underway on Feb. 6, 2014.

Skye Whitford started skating as early as when she was 3, but took a long break from the sport and resumed about six years ago, when she was 9, with the inspiration coming from her mother, Charity, and encouragement from her stepfather Lonny Jacobson.

Charity Whitford says Skye has put a lot of pressure on herself to be able to make it to the Winter Games.

And her main motivation has been to honour the name of stepdad Lonny Jacobson, a pilot, who lost his life in a plane crash last August while working as a crop duster near Saskatoon.

The crash came as a huge shock to both Charity and Skye, who cut short her attendance at a summer skating school in Saskatoon.

Skye was a regular at the Saskatoon summer skating school and Lonny, who was just 31 at the time of his death, was a great supporter. He accompanied Skye to carnivals and competitions many times and he spent countless hours watching Skye practise at the rink.

It looks like Skye has already achieved what she had set out to do and made it to the Winter Games.

What’s next?

“I want to be a doctor or dentist” Skye says when asked about her career plans.

While figure-skating is certain to continue, she does not really appear to have a set target regarding her involvement in the sport.

Depending on how she performs at the Winter Games in February, she does not rule out making an attempt to achieve further provincial and even national success.

But unless things turn out in a spectacular way, Skye is now planning to first graduate from figure skating at Ponoka’s ice skating club and then do some coaching.

Until then, school will always take priority so that the planned career in a medical profession will not be jeopardized.