Is it possible to find Private Coaches in Vancouver, BC? | Golden Skate

Is it possible to find Private Coaches in Vancouver, BC?

Joined
Apr 2, 2024
Hi all,

I'll move to Vancouver for graduate school in the fall, and I'm trying to find a private figure skating coach. I currently live in the US and I just take weekly private lessons from my coach (without joining the club, I guess?). I have no idea how the private lessons thing works here in Vancouver, and it is just super confusing to me after checking some skating clubs' websites. It seems they only have introductory-level group lessons for adults? I'm not interested in taking those (or group lessons at any level), and I'm not interested in competitions, tests, or anything.

I have the experience of taking group lessons in Van and I will just say it was horrible and a complete waste of time. Each time they had a different instructor and you just didn't have the consistency or attention. In general, I don't think the coaches cared about the students (adult students who didn't want to compete). My major goal is to take lessons and make progress with the same coach, and I don't want to worry about the bureaucracy. Right now I pay for the ice time and my coach and that's the only thing I need to do. My current coach is super nice and we are very extremely efficient.Do you think it is possible to continue this mode in Vancouver? I will go to the UBC, so I'd prefer rinks and coaches near that area. I emailed some clubs in February but none of them replied, so I guess those are silent rejections, LOL. I do very much want to take private lessons and I am more used to this. TIA!
 

Ic3Rabbit

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Jan 9, 2017
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Hi all,

I'll move to Vancouver for graduate school in the fall, and I'm trying to find a private figure skating coach. I currently live in the US and I just take weekly private lessons from my coach (without joining the club, I guess?). I have no idea how the private lessons thing works here in Vancouver, and it is just super confusing to me after checking some skating clubs' websites. It seems they only have introductory-level group lessons for adults? I'm not interested in taking those (or group lessons at any level), and I'm not interested in competitions, tests, or anything.

I have the experience of taking group lessons in Van and I will just say it was horrible and a complete waste of time. Each time they had a different instructor and you just didn't have the consistency or attention. In general, I don't think the coaches cared about the students (adult students who didn't want to compete). My major goal is to take lessons and make progress with the same coach, and I don't want to worry about the bureaucracy. Right now I pay for the ice time and my coach and that's the only thing I need to do. My current coach is super nice and we are very extremely efficient.Do you think it is possible to continue this mode in Vancouver? I will go to the UBC, so I'd prefer rinks and coaches near that area. I emailed some clubs in February but none of them replied, so I guess those are silent rejections, LOL. I do very much want to take private lessons and I am more used to this. TIA!
Yes, but private lessons at rinks there are few and far between!
There are a few options though:
They have great coaches and Tiffany Leung is actually one of them, she's a former top level figure skater and she's actually a student at UBC. ;)

Another option would be to go down to the Richmond neighborhood and look into private lessons here: https://richmondoval.ca/sports_programs/learn-to-skate-private-lessons/

Good luck!
 

Diana Delafield

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Oct 22, 2022
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Canada
Hi all,

I'll move to Vancouver for graduate school in the fall, and I'm trying to find a private figure skating coach. I currently live in the US and I just take weekly private lessons from my coach (without joining the club, I guess?). I have no idea how the private lessons thing works here in Vancouver, and it is just super confusing to me after checking some skating clubs' websites. It seems they only have introductory-level group lessons for adults? I'm not interested in taking those (or group lessons at any level), and I'm not interested in competitions, tests, or anything.

I have the experience of taking group lessons in Van and I will just say it was horrible and a complete waste of time. Each time they had a different instructor and you just didn't have the consistency or attention. In general, I don't think the coaches cared about the students (adult students who didn't want to compete). My major goal is to take lessons and make progress with the same coach, and I don't want to worry about the bureaucracy. Right now I pay for the ice time and my coach and that's the only thing I need to do. My current coach is super nice and we are very extremely efficient.Do you think it is possible to continue this mode in Vancouver? I will go to the UBC, so I'd prefer rinks and coaches near that area. I emailed some clubs in February but none of them replied, so I guess those are silent rejections, LOL. I do very much want to take private lessons and I am more used to this. TIA!
I've done that in the past (I live in Richmond now and grew up in Vancouver), but it was expensive. I rented private ice in various rinks in the city and beyond, and asked older coaches if they could recommend less senior coaches who would be willing to coach me in the locations and at the times I had rented ice. It wasn't easy even for me to find anyone, and I had the advantage of already knowing many people in the Vancouver skating community. Two turned out to be bad choices in that after a short while they decided it was too much trouble to drive all the way to the arenas at the times I wanted just for an hour, and just stopped coming with no explanation. I did finally find a very good, responsible one, but that was in the 1990s/early 2000s, and he's left coaching now.

If there's anyone who still does that, I don't know who, and I don't know if the Vancouver rinks still allow an individual to rent ice time on a regular basis. If you're at UBC, you'll want to approach either the UBC rink itself, or the Kerrisdale or Kitsilano arenas, as the nearest ones. I rented time at Kitsilano, but the manager there seemed a little bemused that someone would want to do that. You'll need to rent at least an hour at a time, at least once a week, and pay the coach the going rate for an hour's private lesson. You may find yourself shooing other skaters off your ice, which can be a nuisance as they don't see why one person should be allowed to hog the whole rink. This arrangement can be done, but it's unusual.

These days I'm skating at a private sports club, not at any of the civic arenas, so I'm out of the Skate Canada clubs loop, but it would help if you joined a club first and got to know people, perhaps by volunteering. It's possible to do what you want, but you need to know the right people to ask, and it's all word-of-mouth and private arrangements with a coach who will put her/his club responsibilities and pupils first. And it's a very expensive way to skate.

If I think of anything more than these first few random suggestions, I'll add to this, or you can message me privately. I see @Ic3Rabbit has added more up-to-date suggestions while I've been typing this, so check out her links. Good luck!
 
Joined
Apr 2, 2024
Yes, but private lessons at rinks there are few and far between!
There are a few options though:
They have great coaches and Tiffany Leung is actually one of them, she's a former top level figure skater and she's actually a student at UBC. ;)

Another option would be to go down to the Richmond neighborhood and look into private lessons here: https://richmondoval.ca/sports_programs/learn-to-skate-private-lessons/

Good luck!
ah, thanks! I saw their website as well. I was recommended to them and Champs International by someone else! I guess I need to figure out which rink is more convenient for me to go.
 
Joined
Apr 2, 2024
I've done that in the past (I live in Richmond now and grew up in Vancouver), but it was expensive. I rented private ice in various rinks in the city and beyond, and asked older coaches if they could recommend less senior coaches who would be willing to coach me in the locations and at the times I had rented ice. It wasn't easy even for me to find anyone, and I had the advantage of already knowing many people in the Vancouver skating community. Two turned out to be bad choices in that after a short while they decided it was too much trouble to drive all the way to the arenas at the times I wanted just for an hour, and just stopped coming with no explanation. I did finally find a very good, responsible one, but that was in the 1990s/early 2000s, and he's left coaching now.

If there's anyone who still does that, I don't know who, and I don't know if the Vancouver rinks still allow an individual to rent ice time on a regular basis. If you're at UBC, you'll want to approach either the UBC rink itself, or the Kerrisdale or Kitsilano arenas, as the nearest ones. I rented time at Kitsilano, but the manager there seemed a little bemused that someone would want to do that. You'll need to rent at least an hour at a time, at least once a week, and pay the coach the going rate for an hour's private lesson. You may find yourself shooing other skaters off your ice, which can be a nuisance as they don't see why one person should be allowed to hog the whole rink. This arrangement can be done, but it's unusual.

These days I'm skating at a private sports club, not at any of the civic arenas, so I'm out of the Skate Canada clubs loop, but it would help if you joined a club first and got to know people, perhaps by volunteering. It's possible to do what you want, but you need to know the right people to ask, and it's all word-of-mouth and private arrangements with a coach who will put her/his club responsibilities and pupils first. And it's a very expensive way to skate.

If I think of anything more than these first few random suggestions, I'll add to this, or you can message me privately. I see @Ic3Rabbit has added more up-to-date suggestions while I've been typing this, so check out her links. Good luck!
I'm a bit confused about "rent private ice". In the US, for each rink (or for the rinks I have skated at), they will have different time slots for people to register for. You just have to enroll in the session and you can skate (with around 20-30 people) there without needing to be affiliated with the rink/club. It's essentially open to everyone as long as you fulfill some of the requirements (bring your own skates, at certain levels, etc.). I just need to pay for my own time on the ice and a fee for the skating lesson; my coach also signs a contract with the rink so they can teach there, but they aren't managed by the rink. Do you think the rinks in Canada don't work like this? Such that I can not enroll in a freestyle session without being a member of a skating club? Thank you!
 

Diana Delafield

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Oct 22, 2022
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ah, thanks! I saw their website as well. I was recommended to them and Champs International by someone else! I guess I need to figure out which rink is more convenient for me to go.
That depends on whether you're driving or taking the bus. Champs in Burnaby is the more direct route east across Vancouver from the UBC area by public transportation, but I'm not too sure that they take adults who want private time and aren't interested in testing or competing. I may be wrong, so enquire, but... The other new place sounds interesting and does say they take adult pupils, but Planet Ice Delta would be a long trek by public transportation, entailing probably bus, then Sky Train, then bus again. Not as bad if you're driving yourself. It's south of the river and you'd have to go over one of the bridges from Vancouver to Richmond, through Richmond to the other side, and then use either a bridge or the tunnel to get across the other arm of the Fraser to Delta. (Richmond occupies an island in the mouth of the Fraser River and has water on all sides. The bridges are bottlenecks, particularly because the Vancouver airport is in Richmond so you battle airport traffic merging with whatever lane you're in. I gave up driving into Vancouver years ago because of those bridges. The club where I skate is in Vancouver but my pairs partner drives us both there.)

I checked out the UBC arena website, but it doesn't look as if you can rent your own time on a regular basis. My partner and I did when we were UBC students getting our undergraduate starter degrees there (we both went East for grad school), but it was only the one Father Bauer rink then. The newer Thunderbird arena where they held Skate Canada this past season is new since my day.

One thing that occurred to me -- and I hate to keep tossing in pessimistic things when actually I want to encourage you to succeed in your quest for a private coach since that's what I've done since I became an adult responsible for my own skating arrangements, and wouldn't be coached any other way! -- is that in Canada, as I'm sure you know, coaches have to be nationally certified. They're required to keep up their certification, and one way they do that is by having pupils testing and competing. So if you find coaches reluctant to be hired, don't take it personally. It's just that you're taking working time away from them that they can't use as qualification statistics. I suspect I found it easier to hire someone because the junior coaches knew of me as a former national competitor and that I was friends with most of the senior coaches and at least the BC section administrators at the time when I was wanting to hire someone. (From about 1990 on, with gaps here and there.) I'm sure you can find someone who fills your requirements, just don't get discouraged if you need to interview a list of potential candidates! The Tiffany Leung recommended by @Ic3Rabbit, while I don't know her myself, appears to be a good choice judging by her bio. But she's at the distant Planet Ice arena, so take a look at transportation routes and schedules to Delta.
 

silverlily1

Rinkside
Joined
Oct 25, 2023
Hi all,

I'll move to Vancouver for graduate school in the fall, and I'm trying to find a private figure skating coach. I currently live in the US and I just take weekly private lessons from my coach (without joining the club, I guess?). I have no idea how the private lessons thing works here in Vancouver, and it is just super confusing to me after checking some skating clubs' websites. It seems they only have introductory-level group lessons for adults? I'm not interested in taking those (or group lessons at any level), and I'm not interested in competitions, tests, or anything.

I have the experience of taking group lessons in Van and I will just say it was horrible and a complete waste of time. Each time they had a different instructor and you just didn't have the consistency or attention. In general, I don't think the coaches cared about the students (adult students who didn't want to compete). My major goal is to take lessons and make progress with the same coach, and I don't want to worry about the bureaucracy. Right now I pay for the ice time and my coach and that's the only thing I need to do. My current coach is super nice and we are very extremely efficient.Do you think it is possible to continue this mode in Vancouver? I will go to the UBC, so I'd prefer rinks and coaches near that area. I emailed some clubs in February but none of them replied, so I guess those are silent rejections, LOL. I do very much want to take private lessons and I am more used to this. TIA!
Kerrisdale FSC has quite a few adult skaters. I would talk to them. It can take a while for a club to get back to you as it's all volunteers on the boards.

Skating with a club is one of your best ideas. Some have adult sessions where you can work privately with one of their coaches, some are smaller and will group you with the skating level you're at or with the senior (teen) skaters. They'll have club coaches available for private and semi-private lessons during those times. Some you have to arrange with the coach, some have the head coach schedule everyone into lessons with the various coaches.

I can't speak to the comment about people competing and testing, as I compete and test. But at my club there is one other adult who doesn't compete but could and one who tests but may not test again for some time, and doesn't plan to compete at this time.
 

Diana Delafield

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Joined
Oct 22, 2022
Country
Canada
I'm a bit confused about "rent private ice". In the US, for each rink (or for the rinks I have skated at), they will have different time slots for people to register for. You just have to enroll in the session and you can skate (with around 20-30 people) there without needing to be affiliated with the rink/club. It's essentially open to everyone as long as you fulfill some of the requirements (bring your own skates, at certain levels, etc.). I just need to pay for my own time on the ice and a fee for the skating lesson; my coach also signs a contract with the rink so they can teach there, but they aren't managed by the rink. Do you think the rinks in Canada don't work like this? Such that I can not enroll in a freestyle session without being a member of a skating club? Thank you!
The rinks just have public sessions or drop-in hockey sessions or parents and tots etc. The public sessions are all drop-in, you pay an admission fee when you arrive at the rink, but you don't register. There's no specific figure skating or freestyle sessions. And you could get lucky and find a less-popular public session where the ice wasn't crowded, and you and your coach could use the centre of the rink for your lesson. (Stay away from the boards. There will be a train of beginners wobbling round and round an imaginary track there. Or there might be teenagers showing off and hurtling around with no care for anyone else.)

Why I kept talking about renting private ice, i.e. renting an entire ice surface (there are six surfaces at the Richmond Ice Centre where I skated for years and which the Connaught Club used before the Richmond Oval was built for the 2010 Olympics) for specific hours on specific days of the week just for myself and my coach, was that you couldn't pay me to skate at a public session. In Canada, virtually everyone skates. The public sessions can get very crowded and your lessons could be quite frustrating with others zooming through the space where you are trying to work on spins or turns.

Oh, and you're not allowed to jump on public sessions. Not at any of the rinks I know of in the Vancouver area, anyway. Not so much as a teeny bunny hop. If you want to jump, you have to rent the ice for yourself and your coach alone, or yourself and two or three friends would be allowed if you can find others to share the cost. Or book lessons at one of the schools like Champs or at the Oval (which seem to be only 1/2 hour per week) or at Planet Ice.
 

Diana Delafield

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Oct 22, 2022
Country
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Kerrisdale FSC has quite a few adult skaters. I would talk to them. It can take a while for a club to get back to you as it's all volunteers on the boards.

Skating with a club is one of your best ideas. Some have adult sessions where you can work privately with one of their coaches, some are smaller and will group you with the skating level you're at or with the senior (teen) skaters. They'll have club coaches available for private and semi-private lessons during those times. Some you have to arrange with the coach, some have the head coach schedule everyone into lessons with the various coaches.

I can't speak to the comment about people competing and testing, as I compete and test. But at my club there is one other adult who doesn't compete but could and one who tests but may not test again for some time, and doesn't plan to compete at this time.
And Kerrisdale arena would be easy for you to reach by public transportation. There used to be a bus running from the campus straight across 41st Ave. Get off at West Boulevard and the arena is on the Blvd just north of 41st. My friends and I at Lord Byng high school on 16th used to skate at Kerrisdale after school, taking one bus up Dunbar from 16th and then transferring to the 41st bus. Quite a short ride, as we measure distances in Canada :)
 

silverlily1

Rinkside
Joined
Oct 25, 2023
The rinks just have public sessions or drop-in hockey sessions or parents and tots etc. The public sessions are all drop-in, you pay an admission fee when you arrive at the rink, but you don't register. There's no specific figure skating or freestyle sessions. And you could get lucky and find a less-popular public session where the ice wasn't crowded, and you and your coach could use the centre of the rink for your lesson. (Stay away from the boards. There will be a train of beginners wobbling round and round an imaginary track there. Or there might be teenagers showing off and hurtling around with no care for anyone else.)

Why I kept talking about renting private ice, i.e. renting an entire ice surface (there are six surfaces at the Richmond Ice Centre where I skated for years and which the Connaught Club used before the Richmond Oval was built for the 2010 Olympics) for specific hours on specific days of the week just for myself and my coach, was that you couldn't pay me to skate at a public session. In Canada, virtually everyone skates. The public sessions can get very crowded and your lessons could be quite frustrating with others zooming through the space where you are trying to work on spins or turns.

Oh, and you're not allowed to jump on public sessions. Not at any of the rinks I know of in the Vancouver area, anyway. Not so much as a teeny bunny hop. If you want to jump, you have to rent the ice for yourself and your coach alone, or yourself and two or three friends would be allowed if you can find others to share the cost. Or book lessons at one of the schools like Champs or at the Oval (which seem to be only 1/2 hour per week) or at Planet Ice.
Surrey North does have adult figure skating sessions that you can register for 72 hours in advance and they only let 20 people on the ice. But that's a lot farther than Kerrisdale, it sounds like. And then you still need to find a coach to meet you there.
 

Diana Delafield

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Surrey North does have adult figure skating sessions that you can register for 72 hours in advance and they only let 20 people on the ice. But that's a lot farther than Kerrisdale, it sounds like. And then you still need to find a coach to meet you there.
The same multi-stage travelling, essentially, as to Delta. But that's interesting that they have dedicated adult freeskate sessions. I didn't know that. I'm getting out of touch with the civic rinks these days.
 

NanaPat

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And Kerrisdale arena would be easy for you to reach by public transportation. There used to be a bus running from the campus straight across 41st Ave. Get off at West Boulevard and the arena is on the Blvd just north of 41st. My friends and I at Lord Byng high school on 16th used to skate at Kerrisdale after school, taking one bus up Dunbar from 16th and then transferring to the 41st bus. Quite a short ride, as we measure distances in Canada :)
I took the Canada Line + bus to get from the airport to Thunderbird Arena (and back) for a couple of competitions, and one time the bus ran right through Kerrisdale. The route numbers had changed for my second go at it, and I took a different bus. According to the translink site, it is a 20 minute ride from the Kerrisdale Arena to the UBC bus loop on the R4 bus. The R routes are fairly new and are limited stops.

By the way, translink has an excellent online trip planner. Just type in your start and end points and it will tell you how to get there and how long it will take.
 
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