A former Columbia Valley teen, who now lives in Calgary, is carving out a name for himself in the figure skating world.
Cael Elford recently earned top marks when he and his dance partner, Pearl Kang, competed in pre-novice ice dancing at the Skate Canada Alberta/NWT/NUNAVUT championship from November 6th to 9th, finishing the tournament in first place.
Cael’s finish qualified him to compete against teams from all over Canada at the Skate Canada Challenge in Edmonton on December 4th and 5th, where he and Pearl came in fifth place out of 24 teams.
“I was really happy,” said Cael, while crediting family for his triumphs. “Both of my parents are figure skaters.”
Cael started skating when he was three years old and began figure skating in 2006. He began in the CanSkate program in Invermere and worked toward a competitive level as the years went on, taking on his first partner in 2009-2010.
“We were helping out on the ice a lot so he spent a lot of time skating out here,” said Cael’s father Jason Elford.
Cael moved to Calgary to begin training during the year of 2012. He has since worked with two partners on the ice.
His desire to be on the ice came naturally with a family full of skating enthusiasts.
“I was a figure skater and a competitive ice dancer and his Mom is a skating coach, so Cael grew up in the rink,” said Jason. “We actually didn’t really want him to get into it too much because it’s a tough sport so we didn’t necessarily encourage him, but he grew up in a rink so there wasn’t much choice, I guess.”
Now, Cael skates between 6 and 8 a.m. daily between Monday to Friday. He also studies ballroom dancing as well as music, performing both on the guitar and drums when he is not competing in pre-novice ice-dancing.
The 14 year old viewed his triumph as a memorable experience, and plans to continue training in pre-novice. The victory also brought back memories for Jason.
“Next year’s challenge is in Montreal, so hopefully they’ll be going to that again if they place well in the Alberta championships,” he explained. “It’s a neat story because he’s doing the same thing I did, and we won Western Canadians and competed nationally — my partner and I — back in 1989 to 1994. Now, Cael’s coming up and doing the same thing and he just won the championship. He won last year too, so this is his second year winning it.”