Colorado Attraction Celebrates Skaters throughout History
Colorado Springs, Colorado has become a training ground for top figure skaters. Therefore, It’s a natural home for this outstanding museum that chronicles the sport.
Both accomplished skaters and people who can’t tell a triple salchow from a double axel will enjoy the World Figure Skating Museum and Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs.
The museum (20 First Street, 719-635-5200) — which graphically chronicles the history of ice skating from the carved-bone runners of twelve centuries ago to the shining steel blades that today’s top skaters (or their parents) pay hundreds of dollars to buy – is encyclopedic and the only one of its kind in the world.
Located in Colorado Springs, an affluent community 75 miles south of Denver, Colorado, the museum’s main gallery highlights the skating greats – gold medal winners of Winter Olympics and world championships. You’ll see their photos, costumes, and some of their medals — from before the days of Sonja Heinie to the 2006 Olympic competition in Torino, Italy..
The big surprise is the museum’s wealth of skating-related art. An Henri Matisse lithograph based on skating maneuvers, an oil painting by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, and the joyful “Gay Blades” by Norman Rockwell (created by the artist both as a painting and in porcelain) is on display.
German and French lithographs, etchings, and hand-colored copper engravings – most of them from the 19th Century, decorate the walls, while Royal Copenhagen plates and porcelain skaters from the factories of Meissen and Royal Doulton are displayed in handsome glass cases.
On the museum’s lower level, one of the most colorful exhibits contains a showcase and six drawers full of thousands of mint-condition enamel pins that commemorate the Winter Olympics, other ice skating competitions, and team pins of figure skating clubs around the world.
Non-skating visitors can learn about the sport by watching videos, such as one by Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton (1984), in which he explains and demonstrates everything you need to know about competition jumps. The museum also contains a library, with extensive archives. Volunteers, many of whom are collectors of figure skating memorabilia, are additional sources of information.
For shoppers, the museum store offers a wide variety of skating-related items. In addition to books, posters, and videos, the shop carries everything from contemporary jewelry and work-out clothes to figurines garbed in the 19th Century skating costumes.
After you have visited the museum, you may want to drop in at the World Arena Ice Hall to watch the area’s up and coming figure skaters train. Frequent evening performances, which are free and open to the public, feature skaters from novices to top-competitors.
World Figure Skating Museum
20 1st St, Colorado Springs, CO 80906
Phone: (719) 635-5200