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Navarro heralds revamped Sun Valley ice shows

Summer series to feature Lysacek, Wagner, Abbott, many others

The cast of <i>Sun Valley On Ice</i> gathers for a group shot on the outdoor rink.
The cast of Sun Valley On Ice gathers for a group shot on the outdoor rink. (courtesy of Kim Navarro)

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By Kim Navarro, special to icenetwork.com
(06/27/2012) - Returning to Sun Valley, Idaho, this summer, Brent and I figured the bar would need to be raised to beat the excellence of last yearʼs summer ice show.

Not only did 2010 Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek guest star twice last summer, but the only act that could upstage him made an appearance as well: a streaker, during the finale pinwheel.

What we didnʼt know was that Lana Breazeale, Sun Valley director of recreation, and Scott Irvine, skating director, already had plans to shake up this summerʼs show.

The show had been called Sun Valley Summer Ice Show for many years, but this summer, Sun Valley On Ice will have its debut.

With a new name, a new logo and a pretty hot new poster featuring a certain ice dance team (wink, wink), Lana and Scott want to both grab people's attention and show them what ice skating is really about.

"We want the message to be that we are entertainers and we are athletes," Lana explained, because she feels that is the embodiment of what skating is: a combination of entertainment and athleticism.

The showʼs format has changed. Instead of performing the same number every Saturday evening, the principal skaters will rotate their solo numbers. This way, a returning audience member could see a different show on a second visit.

There are more group numbers. Lana and Scott found that audiences greater appreciate the difficulty of skating the more skaters there are on the ice moving together.

There will be a variety of new guest stars, including 2012 U.S. champion Ashley Wagner, 2012 U.S. silver medalist Adam Rippon and 2012 U.S. silver medalists Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani.

Three-time U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott will be returning after one year away from Sun Valley. Lysacek will again perform in two separate shows, and after many years since last performing in Sun Valley, Kyoko Ina and John Zimmerman will be gracing the show. (The female portion of our cast is very excited about this!).

In addition to the headliners, many shows will include promising young skaters, like 2012 U.S. junior champions Nathan Chen and Gracie Gold.

However, with the new name, new look, new guest stars and changes to the showʼs format, Lana and Scott are pretty clear that they purposely donʼt want to change too much.

Because, as Lana says, "We know we have one of the best shows out there. We just need people to know about it."

And I couldnʼt agree more. After a couple years in the professional skating world, it is evident to me just how special these weekly summer skating shows are.

The cast is predominantly made of principal skaters, including Elena Leonova, Andrei Khvalko, Joseph Sabovcik, Craig Heath, Ashley Clark, Darlin Baker, Natalia Zatseiva and Jeremy Barrett.

The ice surface is big, allowing for fast and powerful skating.

The setting is magical: outside, and under the stars.

Add in an Olympic gold medalist guest star, and it just canʼt be beat.

So, what seems like a small tweak in a name really means so much more. It means that this yearʼs Sun Valley On Ice plans to put itself in line with all the other great "On Ice" shows out there. Which is really where it had been all along.

You just didnʼt know about it.

Weekly Saturday night shows begin July 7, with a special Fourth of July show (starring 2011 U.S. champion Ryan Bradley!) on -- you got it -- July 4.