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Young ice dreamer: Squamish's Malia Stuart heads to Ontario competition

Preparing for Success: Here are ways to help Stuart reach her dreams.

Squamish's Malia Stuart has been chasing her dreams on ice since she was about five years old. 

Now, she is taking another stroke forward in her skating career as she is heading to the 2023-2024 Skate Canada Challenge – Pre-Novice/Novice championships, which will take place from Feb. 1 to 4, in Oakville, Ont.

She earned one of six Team BC/YT spots, representing British Columbia and Yukon Territory novice women's figure skaters.

Stuart trains six days a week, living in Richmond with a billet family to train half the week at Connaught Skating Club at the Olympic Oval.

She commutes by SeaBus, SkyTrain, bus and foot. But she has her L and is looking forward to being able to drive herself eventually.

She trains two days a week in Squamish and dry-land trains outside of that.

In Grade 11, the 16-year-old does online school mostly, but attends Howe Sound Secondary when she is in Squamish to check in with teachers and see friends.

She will be skating two programs in the February competition, one short and one long.

Her short program is to the song Ecstasy of Gold, while her long program is similar in tone, from Gladiator.

The songs and programs play to her strengths, she said, which are her speed and power on the ice. 

Both programs were put together by her Richmond coach, Keegan Murphy, who also has a Squamish connection. He and his mother, coach Eileen, are former locals.

During her programs, Stuart said she is most comfortable executing her double axel jump.

"I love that," she said. 

The challenging part in her programs has been her triple loop jump, but she said she has worked hard at being more consistent with that, too.

Of course, like all athletes, there's the mental part of competing that has to be tackled. 

When she was younger, she said she didn't think about anything and just skated in competitions, but as she got older and understood what was at stake, the anxiety started to creep in.

With her coach, she has worked hard at creating a strict routine that gives her certainty about what is to come.

"I write down a plan every Monday. I write down a plan for my week. So, I literally go element by element in my practice," she said.

When she hits the ice, body memory should kick in.

Stuart’s dream is to one day be a member of Team Canada to compete at the Olympics. She would also like to be part of an ice show, like Stars On Ice, and eventually coach. 

She will soon perform in the Skate Sea2Sky Christmas Show, "The Pied Piper Presents a Fairy-tale Fantasy," as Tinkerbell on Dec. 9 and 10 at Brennan Park.

"I love these shows," she said. 

Community support

Stuart said she's been fortunate to have many in Squamish step up and offer their support in her skating journey so far. She credited for her success locals Heather Johnston at Tantalus Chiro, Airhouse Sports Academy, Paul Dwyer at Coast Mountain Athletic Therapy, Karina Steinberg at Sea to Sky Sports Physio and physiotherapist Marnie Tocheniuk, and her billet family "for being my second family away from home."

She also recognizes the sacrifices her whole family makes so she can skate.

“I would not be where I am now if it wasn't for my family," she said.

How you can help

While she was thrilled to earn a bursary to attend the national competition in February, it only covered her entrance fee. She still needs about $4,000 to afford the trip.

Locals can help by donating through the FlipGive app, which allows users to shop and partial proceeds go to the fundraising cause. 

If you join “Stuart's team,” you'll get a $5 bonus the first time you shop. 

There is also a GoFundMe campaign titled, "Malia Stuart - Team BCYT National competition." 

Finally, there is a silent auction.

If you have a service or a product to contribute, the online silent auction runs from Jan. 14 to 20 with bidding starting on Jan. 14 and closing on Jan. 20 at 11:59 p.m.

Donations can be listed on the silent auction page and any questions can be directed to Jena Steele at

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