Friday, August 3, 2012

Battle of the Blades is back

Professional skier Langly McNeal of Ketchum celebrates a successful ice-dancing routine in last year’s Battle of the Blades at the Sun Valley outdoor ice rink. McNeal paired up with Kelly Smith and took home first place. The top three finishers earned money to donate toward the charity of their choice. McNeal donated her winnings to the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation. An estimated 2,400 people attended last year’s event. Photo by Roland Lane

The Battle of the Blades, the popular local figure skating competition that pairs professional ice skaters with local celebrities, is back for another season at Sun Valley.

In 2012, viewers can watch the "Battle of the Blades...It's Back" at the outdoor ice rink at Sun Valley at 8 p.m. on Saturday, September 8.

The preparation and production has been hard at work for the new season, pairing nine celebrity contestants with their perfect pro.

Temperament, ability and musical preferences were among many factors considered by choreographers Gia Guddat and Lisa-Marie Allen in creating the dream teams.

Now, the pros and contestants are about the step out onto the ice together for the first time.

The pairs are as follows: Kaitlyn Farrington will skate with Eddie Gornik; Miles Fink Debray takes to the ice with Natalia Zaitseva; Lara McLean performs with Joel Dear; Billy Olson will skate with Stephanee Grosscup; Keith Perry competes with Elena Leonova; Erin Rheinschild will skate with Brent Bommentre; Bob Rosso with Ashley Clark; Hannes Thum will dance with Kim Navarro; and Cortney Vandenburgh will compete with Andrei Khvalko.

Gornik, Zaitseva, Dear, Leonova, Clark and Khavlko are veterans of the inaugural Battle of the Blades.

All are skaters are highly accomplished professionals who have competed and performed all over the world.

For ticket information, and general information on the professional skaters, the local celebrities and the entire event, go to bat

General admission east and west bleacher seating is $25 for adults and $10 for students.

Center Ice bleachers are $50 per ticket and special VIP armchair seats at the ice's edge are $150.

Anticipate a sell out audience, as people are encouraged to buy tickets early.

Seating will be assigned by section on a first-come, first-served basis.

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