October 28th

It’s funny that in all of my trips between Toronto and Montréal, I’ve never really been to Kingston (aside from a quick stop to fill up the gas tank or to grab a bite). Even when I drove across Canada this summer, I flew right past Kingston on the 401 — twice, in fact. I had no idea what a nice city was settled down by the water!

 

Like Lake Placid, one of the drawbacks of the beautiful location is the accessibility challenge. Because I’m not within driving distance and therefore wouldn’t have a car, it made for a hard time deciding whether or not to attend my third consecutive Skate Canada. In the end, though, skating won out (as it often does). I decided that I’d stop drinking so many lattes to make up for the money I spent on plane and train tickets (actual start of this resolution is still TBA), and I arrived in Kingston yesterday.

The train coming from Toronto (my train) was about 45 minutes late yesterday afternoon, which meant that it arrived less than 10 minutes before the train coming from Ottawa. Add to this an influx in tourists without cars, and the VIA train station had a line at the taxi stand at least 15 deep — with no cabs in sight. Fortunately, I still had a bit of time to play with before dance practice started. I had enough time to check into my hotel, and my cab driver waited for me while I did. He was super friendly, and I got a history lesson on Kingston, Canada, the United States, and Chicago — all in the time that it took to get downtown.

 

As I was checking in, I heard Patrick Chan’s music start, but then they made me go back outside and walk around the building to go in the media door. Unfortunately, by the time I did that, I’d missed his run-through. I saw him land a triple-triple later in the practice but didn’t see him working on much else. I did get to see run-throughs from Jeremy Ten, Kevin Reynolds, Javier Fernandez, and Grant Hochstein. I did happen to be watching Reynolds when he tried his quad loop! The buzz was that it was fully rotated. I obviously don’t have the ability to check the replay, but he did the jump right below me (steep seats!), and I didn’t think it was rotated. I could definitely be wrong, but it was stumbly and two-footed. Still, awesome that he’s trying them and landing them. I’ve already seen Ten and Reynolds skate once this year, since I shot Autumn Skate in Ottawa in September, and I’m anxious to see how both of them have developed their programs since then.

 

Dance was up next, so I grabbed my camera and memory cards (but not extra batteries) and schlepped over to the other side of the arena. Plenty of seats were empty, so I figured I would grab a place on the judges’ side, since I’m not sure where I’ll be for the competition, but one of the options is on the “wrong” side.

 

The program I was most excited to see here was Vanessa Crone & Paul Poirier’s free dance, so I was psyched that they chose to run through that one in the SD/FD practice! While I’m sure that the costuming and excitement of competition will add to the experience of the program on Sunday, I was really glad that I got to see them practice it in all black. It highlighted their lines, which they’ve really worked on in this off-season, and brought the beauty of Christopher Dean’s choreography to the forefront. Sinead & John Kerr have also brought improvements to the table, and I think it could be a close race for gold. Can’t wait to see how that plays out!

 

I didn’t really see a frontrunner for bronze. Lots of strengths in the pack, but quite a few mistakes in practice, too, and no one team really looked like they were going to take it. I don’t envy the judging panel in this event.

 

Anyway, I am looking forward to an exciting day. I’ll try to check in again at some point, or at least tweet occasionally, and then I’ll be able to write something longer tomorrow morning.