10 questions for figure skater, junior Emma Hills


Submitted by Emma Hills

Hills has a bright future in skating. “At least through the rest of high school I’m thinking of becoming judge later. If I keep ties to figure skating later, it will be through judging, not competing,” she said.

After beginning figure skating to follow in her sister’s footsteps, Junior Emma Hills needed only a small push before she too was jumping and spinning on the ice. Hills now competes in both individual and synchro events.  Synchro is a form of skating involving groups of ten to 16 skaters all moving in unison. To prepare for competitions, Hills spends time on the ice four to five days per week at the Burnsville Ice Arena.


Do you get to pick the music and costumes that go along with the performances?

It depends. For competitions, I can pick the dress I am wearing, but I do not pick the music. My coach chooses the music, and if I like it then we use it. I usually like the music and picking out the dresses and everything too.


What has been your most fun competition?

My favorite competition is probably my home club’s competition, which is called Skatefest. I like it most because I participate every year. It has a great atmosphere where everyone comes and supports each other.


What do you do at Skatefest?

Skatefest is a two-day competition which happens every November. You do your own program, watch everyone else’s program, and cheer everyone on.

I also do some volunteering there. This year, I judged some of the little kids. I also did a thing called running, which is where I bring the results from the judges to the accountants, where they are processed. I also got to post and deliver the results.


When judging, what do you evaluate for?

They have a list of skills they need to do at each level. As a judge, you look at the skater while they do them. And while you watch the skater you determine whether that is what you expect from a kid at this level or if they should be working on that more or if [what they’re doing]  is above what you usually see at this level and they’re ready to move up. You look at all those skills, make marks, and take notes. And then you rank them.


What is the hardest part about figure skating?

My program is three minutes long. Because it is such a long program, by the end of it my legs are basically jello. But then I have to move onto the next move. The endurance is the hardest part of skating. I can do the jumps individually outside my program, but they get much harder after several minutes of performing.


What has maintained your interest in figure skating?

I really like the feeling of figure skating—skating across the ice. I also love the people there. Through skating, you make friends and get to see them basically every day. It is a nice network of people.


What is your favorite figure skating move?

Depends. Depends on what’s going well. When my jump’s aren’t going well, then it is spins. When jumps are going well, then it is jumps. Generally, I like jumping the most.


What is something most people don’t know about figure skating?

When people hear figure skating, they might first think “Blades of Glory.” But figure skating requires not just a lot of grace, but also athleticism. It requires a lot of leg strength and coordination. It’s not just about the interpretation and how pretty it is. Figure skating is hard.


What is the highlight of your figure skating career so far?

In terms of competition, I got fifth at state last year. In terms of practice, whenever I do clean programs in practice, it feels really good.


Do you have a favorite ice skater?

I have a lot. For women figure skaters, my top three (in no particular order) are Ashley Wagner, Mirai Nagasu, and Mariah Belle.


To what level do you wish to continue?

At least through the rest of high school— I’m thinking of becoming judge later. If I keep ties to figure skating later, it will be through judging, not competing.


What would you like to see in the future of ice skating as a sport?

More participation, of course. I’ve love to see more people do it and more people stick with it. I know of a lot of people who did it when they were younger, but quit somewhere around middle school. We need more people figure skate and continue to skate as they get older.