Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.COM)
Hundreds of ice skaters and ice skating fans glided through the doors of the DECC for the 34th Annual Northland Figure Skating Competition in Duluth.
The competition is known to many as the start of the skating season.
600 individual skaters and 12 synchronized teams from across the US and Canada plan to make Duluth their home for the 4 day event.
And it wasn't long ago that some of these skaters were just trying on their first pair.
"We're going to have three year olds out on the ice this weekend, all the way up to girls that are 22...so seeing them grow from not even being able to walk on their skates now they're out there moving and doing spins and jumps, you're like Oh my gosh...they love it as much as I do," says Alyssa Reder, a coach at DFSC.
Heidi Voss is a self–proclaimed "skating mom" whose daughter starting skating at four.
Voss says the practice schedule is not something the girls take lightly.
"She would spend 5 to six days a week here two to three hours a day and that would be average for most of these kids."
The training is rigorous but skaters say it's worth it once they make it to the competition.
"I get to have fun and relax and it's really fun to just glide because it makes me feel like I'm free," says skater Jessica Kautz.
After all the hours practicing to get the edge on their competition, each skater hopes to put their best blade forward.
"Perfect hair in a bun, makeup on, dresses clean very pretty looking...if you feel good about yourself you're going to do well," Reder adds.
The competition is hosted by the Duluth Figure Skating Club and is run completely by volunteers.
The competition wraps up on Sunday and is free to watch. Events begin daily at 8am.
Posted to the web by Gabrielle Ware