Aliya Redd and Ainsley Vetter figured skated competitively while in high school.

Hurricanes on Ice creates community for skaters

By Emmalyse Brownstein

Hurricanes on Ice creates community for skaters

By Emmalyse Brownstein
The student organization provides an outlet for former competitive skaters, as well as students just looking to learn the basics.

In a place where ice cream cones melt the minute you step outside, it might be difficult to imagine that ice skating could prosper here in South Florida. But among one group of University of Miami students, the sport is keeping cool.

Jess Green began skating when she was six years old, and by the time she was in high school she spent upwards of 20 hours a week at the rink preparing for competitions across the Mid-Atlantic. But Green knew that when she moved from Baltimore to attend the University of Miami, her life as a competitive figure skater would change drastically.

“Typically, figure skaters dedicate a large amount of time to the ice. When I came to Florida, I didn't have that outlet to skate,” said Green. 

She knew of some girls from her home rink in Maryland competing in the United States Figure Skating Association's collegiate competitions. So, when Green arrived on campus as a first-year student in 2017, she set out to give herself and other athletes a space to continue the sport they loved. Hurricanes on Ice was born. 

The group of about 40 members has yet to compete but hope to offer the option to members  in the future. With indoor and off-campus events not an option amid the pandemic, the members do hope to lace up at Pines Ice Arena or Kendall Ice Arena again in the near future. For some members, like Aliya Redd, the group’s president, skating is a much-needed break from the chaos of college life. 

“Every time I go on the ice, I feel like I'm in my own world,” said Redd. “My problems melt away, and I’m just focused on the ice and myself. It’s a stress relief. I feel like it’s somewhere I can step away.” 

If you’re looking for something fun and safe to do during this pandemic, ice skating could be the answer. A mostly solo sport, it allows room for social distancing. Plus, the skating rinks are operating at 50 percent capacity and with precautions in place, like the requirement for masks, according to Redd. Although she and Green are both former competitive skaters, all levels of experience are welcome.

“Whether you have skated one day in your life or used to do it every single day, if you like it, you can join,” Redd said. 

As soon as the student group can schedule indoor events, it plans to organize private ice sessions for those with more experience to practice technique and jumps. There will be other sessions where the experienced members will coach the newbies. 

“As a school in South Florida, we didn't really have a community for those who love the winter sport,” said Green. “Hurricanes on Ice has allowed skaters to come together and return to the ice.” 

Interested in learning more about Hurricanes on Ice? Connect with the student organization on Engage.