Reed rides waves to rewarding pro skating career

Former U.S. competitor thrills to performing all over the world

World traveler Erin Reed enjoys the surroundings of Cinque Terra, Italy.
World traveler Erin Reed enjoys the surroundings of Cinque Terra, Italy. (courtesy of Erin Reed)


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By Lois Elfman, special to
(06/13/2013) - Like many skaters, Erin Reed's competitive skating days came to a close due to injury. After having competed at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at both the junior and senior levels (winning a pewter medal in junior ladies in 2004), a stress fracture kept her from qualifying for the U.S. championships in 2008.

As soon as the injury was healed, she signed a contract to perform aboard one of the Royal Caribbean International ships with an ice rink. At the time, she thought she might return to competitive skating, but at the conclusion of that initial 3 1/2-month contract, Reed knew she had found her love in professional skating.

"I really enjoyed the professional side of our sport," Reed said. "So, I signed up for another ship contract.

"It's such an amazing venue," she added. "You have the audience on three sides and amazing sets. I was addicted immediately."

Since 2008, Reed, 27, has done five ship contracts ranging in length from 3 1/2 months to almost nine months. She's performed on Adventurer of the Seas, Independence of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and the initial cruise of Allure of the Seas. She's cruised the Eastern and Western Caribbean as well as Europe and the Mediterranean.

"I've seen a lot of amazing places," Reed said.

From a young age, Reed, who grew up in Utah, knew she loved show skating. As a teenager, she got to perform in the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games under the direction of Sarah Kawahara. In the summers, she also made the drive to Sun Valley, Idaho, with one of her coaches, Jozef Sabovčík, to perform in the renowned summer shows.

Reed attended college while competing -- winning a silver medal at the 2007 U.S. Collegiate Championships -- and graduated from the University of Utah in 2008 with a degree in business. She put her education to good use during her 2012 contract on Liberty of the Seas, where she served as ice captain.

"On a ship, the ice captain's duties are very managerial," Reed noted. "You have responsibility to take care of your cast and to report to senior staff and senior management."

Other professional jobs have included two summers at the park show at Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio, produced by Karen Kresge; and two winters at the Christmas show in Wolfsburg, Germany, where the choreographer was Stephanee Grosscup, one of Reed's choreographers during her competitive days. She has also been reunited with Kawahara, who choreographed the show on Allure of the Seas.

Pro skating has also brought someone into Reed's life with whom she'd crossed paths as a competitor: 2011 U.S. men's champion Ryan Bradley, who is now her boyfriend. Despite hectic schedules, they manage to find time to be together.

Last year, Bradley was part of the cast aboard Liberty of the Seas for four months (Reed thanks Willy Bietak and Sylvia Froescher for making that possible), and then he and Reed performed with Ice Theatre of New York (ITNY). They're spending this summer in Sun Valley, where they'll perform in the renowned ice show.

"Whenever we're available, we're together," she said. "ITNY was a great experience. I liked being part of the creative process. We developed a new number, The Artist, choreographed by Doug Webster."

Reed's family members, who live in Utah, will make the four-hour drive at least a couple of times during the summer to see her and Bradley perform. The Reeds have come on a couple of cruises as well.

Reed doesn't have a grand grand plan for her pro skating career.

"I'm going with the flow," Reed said. "I'm enjoying whatever comes at me."