Most skaters know it takes long hours of practice on the ice before your inner Michelle Kwan makes an appearance. Salt Lake City skating coach/choreographer Stephanee Grosscup emphasizes the virtue of rehearsal but with her own unique twist: She doesn't use ice. Rather, she skates on synthetic ice—a polymer material not only less expensive to practice on than traditional ice, but easy to assemble/disassemble and requiring less maintenance. A veteran skater with more than 20 years of experience, Grosscup's impressive resume includes coaching Olympic and professional skaters, performing on Late Show With David Letterman, touring with Disney on Ice and choreographing fairy tales for The Autostadt theme park in Germany. City Weekly asked Grosscup why she thinks synthetic ice is so cool.
What's synthetic ice?
It is like a thick version of a Teflon cutting board. The kind of ice I own is called KwikRink, a solid polymer material designed for skating using normal metal-bladed ice skates. The rinks are constructed of interlocking panels. It is lubricated with a glycerin/oil that makes it slick.
What are the advantages to skating on synthetic ice?
Synthetic ice can be set up anywhere. There is no cost for refrigeration or the need for a massive space. For entertainment purposes, a show can be created and performed practically anywhere. It is fantastic to dance on. Plus, we get very strong skating on plastic, as there is more friction.
Does it hurt less when you fall?
Yes. It hurts less, because I don't get going as fast on plastic.
How do you use your rink?
I have a company called Over the Edges, and I use my surface to create production numbers. My dream is to [create] a viable, portable, interactive, visual art form in Utah. There are many talented, professional skaters who live here in between professional contracts. We never have a chance to be a part of the visual-art circuit, because we have to depend on ice rinks. With plastic ice, we can perform anywhere. I hope to create a market for skaters to perform at corporate events, Outdoor Retailer, Sundance, Utah Arts Festival, weddings, fund raisers, theme parties, etc.
What's coming up in the future for you?
My first order of business will be to create an event that will be a collaboration of skating, live music and aerial art. I have a Facebook page called Over the Edges and a website called OverTheEdges.com. If there are any event planners out there who want skating as a part of their show, please get in touch with me.