The skating centre in Oberstdorf, Germany is well known and very popular with figure skaters from all over the world. This summer many national and international skaters attended the annual summer camp to prepare for the upcoming season.
Approximately 140 skaters from 20 countries took part in the eighth annual international “IceDome” training camp that is organized by coach Michael Huth and his wife Claudia.
The “IceDome” camp consists of two blocks: one from June 18 to July 17 and the other August 6-20. Among the skaters who attended the first session were World bronze medalist Carolina Kostner, ice dancers Nelli Zhiganshina and Alexander Gazsi and about 140 novice and junior skaters from Scandinavia, England, the Czech Republic and Canada.
At the same time, other residents and regular guests such as Michal Březina, the German pairs skaters Maylin Hausch and Daniel Wende and Italian pairs skaters Stefania Berton and Ondrej Hotarek worked on their new programs.
Hausch and Wende had previously spent two weeks in Detroit and a couple of days in Andalo, Italy training with Tamara Moskvina’s group (which included Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov and Katarina Gerboldt and Alexander Enbert) before returning to Germany.
“A technical specialist looked at our elements and transitions and explained the new rules to us,” Wende said. The couple learned they need to work especially on the lifts to meet the new requirements to earn a level four. “It will be harder to achieve a level four. You need more changes of positions or a carry position,” he added.
Berton and Hotarek and another German team, Katharina Gierok and Florian Just are also training in Oberstdorf.
The Italians go to Germany for summer training on a regular basis.
Gierok and Just moved to Oberstdorf on July 4 after Gierok finished school in Dortmund. They have a new short program to “Ratatouille” and have kept their free program to “The Holiday.”
The duo made it to the European Championships in their first season as a team and were ranked 11th in Bern, but they are cautious about naming their goals for this year. “We just want to skate strong programs,” Just said. “We lost a lot of time when we were basically without a coach between January and now. I think we can improve a lot in our skating.”
Hausch is happy to have another team to train alongside. “We often trained alone and late in the evening in Oberstdorf, which makes it difficult to motivate yourself so it so good that Katharina and Florian are here with us now,” Hausch said.
For next season, Hausch and Wende plan to include a triple twist in both programs, as well as a triple toe and triple Salchow in their free skate. “The competition at the Grand Prix events will be tough, but our main goal is to improve from our sixth-place finish at Europeans,” Hausch explained.
The German team won their very first Grand Prix medal, a bronze, at the Trophée Bompard last season.
Like Hausch and Wende, Berton and Hotarek went to Detroit for choreography in June.
“Pasquale (Camerlengo) did our short to a Latin Mix and Anjelika (Krylova) did our long to “Adagio” by Albinoni,” Hotarek revealed. “We wanted to have two very different programs.”
Berton talked about an unfortunate accident that happened a few days earlier in practice. “On a triple twist, I hit Ondrej’s head with my jaw and two teeth came loose and moved,” she explained. “I am really upset, because I just got rid of my dental brace after five years and now the teeth moved back into the old position and I need another brace.”
The couple said that they have been working on the triple twist, the lifts and will try to add an ice dance look to their skating. They intend to stay in Oberstdorf until August 15 and then return to Detroit with Hausch and Wende to have their programs polished. They plan to stay there for four weeks.
The German and Italian pairs are good friends with Michal Březina who often watches their practices.
“The ‘IceDome’ is currently undergoing a change of generations,” Huth explained in reference to the fact that many youngsters came this year to train with the 15 coaches, choreographers and two physiotherapists.
Carolina Kostner joined the camp in the second week of July after a “long but well-needed break,” as she put it.
Kostner went to Canada on July 17 to have two new programs choreographed by Lori Nichol, but did not know what music she will use. “I had a lot of ideas last year, but Lori always convinces me of her suggestions and eventually I follow her.
"I think I have to keep skating for a very long time to try all the music that I’d like to skate to,” the three-time European champion said jokingly.
While the focus of the “IceDome” is on singles skating, ice dance was represented by German champions, Nelli Zhiganshina and Alexander Gazsi and three young couples from the Czech Republic.
Zhiganshina and Gazsi worked on their new programs crafted by Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski in Bulgaria and showed in the exhibition how much they have developed artistically.
Former Czech ice dancer Matej Novak came only to watch and visit with his friends. “I’m doing ballroom dancing now because I wanted to try something new,” he told IFS. His former partner, Lucie Mysliveckova, was still looking for a new partner at the time of writing.
The exhibition show “Musicals on Ice” was a true highlight of the summer camp in Oberstdorf. It featured not only the “IceDome” skaters but also Březina, Hausch and Wende and Berton and Hotarek.
The summer show was sold out for the first time and 1,700 spectators filled the seats. Three-time World champion Robin Szolkowy watched the show from the tribune as an honorary guest.
Zhiganshina and Gazsi shone in the acrobatic number to “Tarzan” and also in their dramatic interpretation to music from “Phantom of the Opera.”
Kostner showed her versatility as a romantic “Evita” and the sexy Roxy from “Chicago.”
Březina was the “Fiddler on the Roof,” and Hausch and Wende performed a fun number to the song “Life starts with 66 years.”
Anton Kovalevski excited the crowd with his backflip to “Saturday Night Fever.” The Ukrainian champion who had trained in Oberstdorf the past few years, bid farewell to the sport. He is taking a break from competitive skating.