Skating club president takes pride in ice shows


January 21, 2001|By Lowell E. Sunderland

Name: Chris Thorne

Job description: Second year as president of Columbia Figure Skating Club, which has 156 members, most of them skaters ranging from 4 to 60-plus years old (about 15 adults), about three-quarters from Howard County. In fifth year with club; also has served on club's 12-member board. Club uses the Columbia Ice Rink as its home. Skaters range from competitive to recreational in skill. Club puts on two ice shows a year, "The Nutcracker" before Christmas and another based on a theme each spring, which are its primary fund-raisers. This spring's show, March 31-April 1, is being built around the "Wizard of Oz." Club's annual budget is $40,000-plus, most of which buys ice time.

Age: 43

Residence: Resident of Columbia's Owen Brown village since 1994.

Personal information: Originally from Hartfordshire County, outside London. Engineering degree. Came to the United States in 1984 with a company that set up in Silver Spring. He and wife operate their own communications software company. Two daughters, 11 and 9, both skaters who got their parents interested in the sport, to the point where both took lessons and skate frequently.

Best thing about youth-organization position: "I really enjoy watching the kids perform in the shows, seeing them develop over the years. Just being part of that is the reward."

Biggest challenge for group: "We have a continuing challenge in balancing the cost of ice time, the times we can get and when the kids can be there, with the changing demands on the rink. Hockey is growing, and we compete for ice time with it. We've already been told that we're facing a significant increase in ice cost next year. As to volunteers, we have a good group for our shows, but we always can use more help."

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