An Olympic figure skater graced an outdoor ice rink on White Bear Lake recently, bringing a film crew along to capture the experience.
The celebrity skater, Michelle Kwan, was a surprise guest to Chad and Nicole Whiterabbit of Mahtomedi, who were referred by a friend to the film crew, F3 Visuals.
F3 is a Minneapolis cinematography company that specializes in aerial (drone) footage. It is the same company that filmed a Mahtomedi High School grad, McQuaid Boo, skating on crystal clear ice near Ramsey County beach earlier this month. The video, called LaCroix on Ice, went viral. Last we checked, it had 175,000 views. Somehow Kwan saw it on Instagram and since she was in the area, decided to do her own version of skating on White Bear Lake. Only she was wearing figure skates.
At least, that's the story told by Chad Whiterabbit, who got a call from a friend asking if his rink was shoveled because Michelle Kwan was coming.
Kwan, 39, retired from competitive skating in 2006. She won two Olympic medals, a silver in ’98 and a bronze in ’02, plus five world championships.
She was very courteous, Whiterabbit said, and an incredible skater. “You couldn't even hear her edges.”
The cold temperatures were a little edgy, though, and Kwan was freezing. So Whiterabbit set up a heated ice shelter as a warming house.
“Ice conditions were really good,” added Whiterabbit, which was a reason Kwan and the crew came to his rink. And yes, it was shoveled; all three of his children play hockey and practice on the lake.
The production crew used a drone, like they did in the LaCroix video, to film Kwan, who indicated she planned to post it on her Instagram account. They filmed in 10-minute intervals from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15. Temperatures were in the single digits, so Kwan took breaks to warm up. Whiterabbit said the crew did it pro bono because they're big fans.
Just a day earlier, the celebrity skater was in Des Moines campaigning for Joe Biden. The Des Moines Register said Kwan “gave some free pointers to ice skaters Saturday morning” in downtown Des Moines “before gliding effortlessly into a pitch” for the former vice president. She joined his presidential campaign as surrogate director, a job she did in a similar capacity for former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign.
According to Whiterabbit, Kwan came to the Twin Cities to visit Marty Collins, the son of the late Tom Collins, a professional skater who founded the Champions on Ice tour. The elder Collins died at his Edina home in September. Kwan starred on his tour along with former Olympians Brian Boitano, Nancy Kerrigan and Kristi Yamaguchi.