By Joe Enos
Holiday Spectacular on Ice featuring Richard “Mr. Debonair” Dwyer and champions from the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club and a tree lighting ceremony are scheduled for November 29
The Renova Rink @ The River, the Palm Springs area’s and this season’s unexpected and new activity for everyone- offering outdoor ice skating at The River at Rancho Mirage is now open. And just announced today, famed skating star Richard “Mr. Debonair” Dwyer and championship skaters from the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club will celebrate the opening of the rink with a special Holiday Spectacular on Ice on November 29th.
The Renova Rink @ the River is open daily through January 8, 2017, under the desert’s bright sunny skies and every evening under the stars with local entertainment, including bands and DJ’s, providing holiday music to accompany most skating sessions. The Renova Rink @ The River VIP Lounge by Acqua with its festive holiday décor will serve for hot chocolate, beer and wine, and snacks in an exclusive setting across the water from the rink.
“Ice skating in the desert at The Renova Rink @ The River will be the highlight of this holiday season,” said Ungar Kung, principal at CL Asset Management, owners’ representative of The River. “The Renova Rink @ The River is for all- families and friends, the young and young at heart, local and visitors and this will be the place for some of the best entertainment, people watching, shopping and dining in the Coachella Valley.”
The Holiday Spectacular on Ice featuring 80-year old ice skating legend Richard Dwyer, also known as Mr. Debonair, is one of the sport’s most popular ice skating stars in figure skating history having skated in both Ice Follies and Ice Capades. Dwyer will be joined by Los Angeles Figure Skating Club champions and medalists Krystal Davis, Nichole Huenergardt, Katie Kornfield., Eric Sjoberg, Ella Ales, Alfred Bartel and Carolyn Bartel, and eight year old Sonia Baram on the ice for the holiday show on Tuesday, November 29, beginning at 5:30 pm, with Santa and a tree lighting, followed by caroling with the Rancho Mirage High School Choir at 6 pm, and the skating show at 6:45 pm.
Envisioned by CV 104.3’s Jimi “Fitz” Fitzgerald, who is also producing a spring music series for The River, The Renova Rink @ the River and the Holiday Spectacular are the very first seasonal events planned for the mid-valley shopping center on this scale. “This is a tremendous opportunity to reach all communities of the Coachella Valley with this centrally-located, mid-valley ice rink,” says Fitzgerald. The Renova Rink @ The River is presented by the FIRST ALERT WEATHER TEAM of CBS Local 2 NEWS and KESQ NEWS CHANNEL 3 and sponsored by CV 104.3 FM, Desert Lexus, Hero, and Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa.
The River at Rancho Mirage is just minutes away from most desert communities, resorts and hotels. This premier shopping, dining, and entertainment destination offers an extraordinary line-up of restaurants like Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse, Baja Fresh, The Cheesecake Factory, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Fleming’s Steak House, Gioia Italian Bistro, P.F. Chang’s, Starbucks, Yard House and more, with Acqua California Bistro and The Fox and Fiddle coming soon; beautiful boutiques and The Century Theatres at The River.
Details on The Renova Rink @ The River, such as hours of operation, pricing, and general information are available on The River’s website at TheRiveratRanchoMirage.com. The Renova Rink @ The River VIP Lounge by Acqua will be open for Thursday-Sunday skating sessions. Parking for ice skaters and their fans is suggested on the west side of The River, near Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse.
Holidays 2016 at The River at Rancho Mirage
The 2016 holiday season at The River at Rancho Mirage promises to the best one ever, where everyone will gather to create a lifetime of memories at the very first outdoor ice skating rink on Highway 111. The Renova Rink @ The River brings the seasonal excitement and energy of New York’s Rockefeller Center and San Francisco’s Union Square to Rancho Mirage with ice skating under the desert’s bright warm sun and twinkling star-lit nighttime sky from November 11 through January 8, 2017. Perfect for the young and young at heart, locals and visitors, The Renova Rink @ The River will be the most popular destination in the Coachella Valley for creating holiday traditions or just people watching. Live entertainment at The Renova Rink @ The River will include local bands and DJ’s to set the tone. Join us for our Holiday Tree Lighting event with Santa and special guests on November 29th, then stay and enjoy ice skating, shopping and dining at our extraordinary lineup of boutiques and award-winning restaurants, or enjoy a movie in the new Luxury Loungers at The Century Theatres at The River. The River offers guests the perfect combination of luxury and recreation -including ice skating- all within a short distance of Rancho Mirage’s world-class resorts and golf courses at the corner of Highway 111 and Bob Hope Drive. TheRiver@RanchoMirage.com.760-341-2711
The River is Rancho Mirage’s premier shopping, dining, and entertainment destination located in the heart of the Palm Springs Valley. Offering an extraordinary lineup of boutiques, award-winning restaurants and movie theatres, The River offers guests the perfect combination of luxury and recreation all within a short distance of Rancho Mirage’s world-class resorts and golf courses at the corner of Highway 111 and Bob Hope Drive. TheRiver@RanchoMirage.com.760-341-2711
Los Angeles Figure Skating Club
The Los Angeles Figure Skating Club, founded in 1933, is a member of U.S. Figure Skating. Home to numerous National, World and Olympic Medalists, the Club’s home rink is located in Burbank, CA at the Pickwick Ice Arena. The Club sponsors three major competitions each year, The Los Angeles Open Championships, the California Championships and the ground-breaking theatrical skating competition, LA Showcase for Skaters. The Club promotes Theatre on Ice, offers critiques to its competitive skaters and sponsors exhibition nights each year. The Club offers a complete program of U.S. Figure Skating tests. For younger members, the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club has a Junior Council that sponsors charitable and fundraising events throughout the year. The Club has a website which can be located on the web at the following address: http://www.lafsc.org. The website’s intent is to provide accurate and updated information on Club events. The Club is also active on Facebook and Instagram which keeps the Club’s members informed of current Club events.
Los Angeles Figure Skating Club Skater Bios
Richard Dwyer is one of the most popular ice skating show stars in figure skating history. He was and is the famous Mr. Debonair. Richard skated in both Ice Follies and Ice Capades.
Richard skated in amateur shows in Chicago, in Seattle, and in Vancouver. He became close friends with the Shipstad children. As a young child, he skated at the Sonja Henie Westwood Ice Gardens rink in Southern California.
Richard enjoyed a successful competitive figure skating career. He won the United States National Figure Skating Championships in the Juvenile, Novice, and Junior Men’s divisions and also competed in the national championships as a senior against the legendary Dick Button, as well as the world championships in pairs with skating partner Susan Berens.
When Richard was fourteen years old, Roy Shipstad of Shipstads and Johnson Ice Follies, decided to retire from performing in the show. Roy Shipstad was looking for a young skater to take on his role of “Debonair.” At that time, ice shows followed promising young amateur skaters and looked for talent. Richard had just won the national junior men’s figure skating title. The Shipstads “discovered” Richard. They wanted to bring in a young boy who wouldn’t be compared to Roy, but would grow up under Roy Shipstad’s guidance.
Roy Shipstad was the original “Debonair,” so Richard became the “Young Debonair.” When he was almost thirty years old, his title changed to “The Debonair.” Later, Richard was “Mr. Debonair.” He always and still skates “Mr. Debonair” with beautiful ladies in glamorous dresses.
In 1993, Richard was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame.
He has managed ice arenas and has taught figure skating. At 80 years old, Richard continues to skate weekly at Pickwick Ice in Burbank, CA, home of the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club. “Mr. Debonair” continues to appear as a guest performer in ice shows and at figure skating events.
Krystal Davis is a professional ice skater currently skating in the Knott’s Berry Farm Snoopy on Ice Show. Krystal began skating at the age of three. She has achieved many awards throughout her skating career including winning the 2004 and 2006 Virginia Fratianne Award and the 2007 prestigious Tai Babilonia Award. Krystal is a 5 time United States National champion with Los Angeles Ice Theater and a United States Figure Skating gold medalist.
Nichole Huenergardt is known for her theatrical skating performances. She is the 2014 Duet National Showcase Champion and has been the recipient of the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club’s prestigious Funakoshi Artistic Award, Jennifer Ritter Interpretive Award, Tai Babilonia Duet Award, Fratianne Artist Award, and Tri Valley Figure Skating Club’s Babilonia Artistic Award.
Nichole was a skater of the Los Angeles Ice Theater for 11 years where she won many national and international titles with the team. While attending the University of Southern California, she founded and created a new Trojan tradition, the USC Ice Girls. The squad performed and cheered on the USC Ice Hockey Team. After graduating in 2013, Nichole went on to perform with the cast of Knotts Berry Farm’s “It’s Christmas Snoopy,” where she was a skater of the Ladies Ensemble.
Nichole produced and directed Emote: The Documentary – a short film that has garnered worldwide recognition for Best Producers, Best Director and Best Documentary Film at numerous Independent Film Festivals. She continues to skate recreationally, works full time, and is filming her next project.
Katie Kornfield is a USFS Gold Medalist and a 2016-2017 Board Director of the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club. She is a 2012 USFS National Showcase bronze medalist and former ensemble member of the world famous Sun Valley Ice Shows in Sun Valley, Idaho. Katie’s dance choreography credits include Tony Bennett’s 80th at The Dolby Theatre and serving as a guest resident dance instructor for the late Paul Newman’s Hole In The Wall Gang Camp. The Los Angeles Figure Skating Club regularly invites Katie to serve as an artistic judge for its annual LA Showcase. She has been honored by Dove and Katie Couric for inspiring young girls through the sport of figure skating.
Katie is also a senior corporate communications and public relations executive. Professional experience includes managing corporate communications for ICM Partners, one of the world’s largest talent and literary agencies, and working as a Senior Media Relations Specialist and Spokeswoman for City of Hope.
Katie has a B.A., Communication from Santa Clara University.
Eric Sjoberg is the 2016 US National’s Novice Men’s Champion. He is a member of Team USA and is an international medalist, a four time US National Medalist (2016 Novice Champion; 2014 Novice Silver; 2013 Intermediate Pewter; 2012 Juvenile Pewter) and a six time US National competitor.
Ella Ales is a three time Southwest Pacific Regional gold medalist, a Pacific Coast Sectional bronze medalist and a U.S. National competitor. She has been awarded the Jacqueline S. Haak perpetual trophy for Most Outstanding Performance at Pasadena Open. Ella is also the President of Los Angeles Figure Skating Club’s Junior Council.
Alfred and Carolyn are Intermediate level pair skaters who compete and win numerous local competitions. They will compete at the 2017 Pacific Coast Sectionals and 2017 U.S. National Championships this competition season. Alfred and Carolyn are also members of the Los Angeles Ice Theater (LAIT) Junior team. In 2016, the LAIT placed 4th at the National Championships, and won the silver medal at the 2015 National Championships. In 2017, the LAIT will be representing the United States at the Nations Cup. Alfred and Carolyn are excited to represent Team USA and the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club at their upcoming competitions.
At the young age of eight, Sonia Baram has two Regional Championships under her belt and has reached the podium in each of them. She is a dedicated skater and works hard to achieve her dream of becoming an Olympic champion.