The St. Moritz Ice Skating Club was organized in 1931 when a small group of women who did not want to have to attempt their first glides on the ice or display those embarrassing falls on a public session, formed a club so they could secure private ice at the old Oakland ice rink on 14th and Grove. This makes St. Moritz one of the oldest established clubs on the Pacific Coast. However, we did not join U.S Figure Skating until 1934 so we are not the oldest recognized club on the West Coast as a few others joined the organization before we did. Nonetheless, we have a very long and distinguished history.
An initial membership of approximately 50 skaters soon grew to number in the hundreds, eventually peeking at over 1,000 members. Today, we are proud to serve nearly 500 members.
The initial focus of the Club quickly expanded to include competitive figure skating, which continues to be encouraged through the advancement in the technique, ability, and achievement of our skaters of all ages and levels. The Club’s interest in the field of competitive skating prompted it to sponsor its first competition, the State Championship, in 1934. Three years later, we had our first representation at the National Championships with Robert Scott bringing home the Novice Men’s title.
St. Moritz was the host for the first National Championships west of Chicago, which was held at Berkeley Iceland in 1947. We hosted three other National Championships and a North American Championship between 1957 and 1975. Together with the Peninsula Skating Club, we organized the 1991 Skate America and 1992 World Championships as well. In 1998, we sponsored the Adult National Championships at the Oakland Ice Center, the first time this event was held on the Pacific Coast. Throughout the years, we have hosted a number of Regional and Sectional Championships as well.
In 1981, we started our own competition, Skate St. Moritz. The competition started out at Dublin Iceland, and then moved to the Oakland Ice Center soon after that facility opened. Today, we are host to between 300 – 400 competitors on two surfaces at this competition annually. In 2002, we held our first annual Bay Cities Synchronized Team Skating competition in Berkeley. It attracts mostly local teams from synchronized skating, Theater on Ice, and ISI team skating, and is currently held at the Oakland Ice Center.
Over the years, our skaters have earned 31 National titles at Nationals, Junior Nationals or Adult Nationals. Our first was by the aforementioned Robert Scott in 1937. More recently, Kevin Shum became the Juvenile Boys National Champion in 2007. And, at the 2009 U.S. Adult Championships, Julie Keith and Michael Ricigliano retained their title in Championship Adult Dance, making it seven in a row.
Kristi Yamaguchi is our only World and Olympic Champion. She led the sweep of the World medals by the United States in 1991 and then earned the Olympic and World titles in 1992. She went on to a very successful professional career and continues to represent the sport of figure skating with grace and dignity. Rudy Galindo won the World Bronze medal in 1996, the same year he won the National title in a thrilling performance at the San Jose Arena.
In 1939, the St. Moritz Ice Skating Club was incorporated and we moved from the Oakland rink to Berkeley the following year. Berkeley Iceland was the Club’s principal skating headquarters until it closed in 2006. At that time, the Oakland Ice Center was designated the Club’s principal skating headquarters and we maintain our presence at Dublin Iceland as well.