Olympian Keegan Messing is less than a year into retirement from competitive figure skating after almost a decade competing at the highest level of the sport.
But that doesn’t mean he’s hung up his skates.
Messing and his family made the trek to Rabbit Lake in the Chugach Mountains on Wednesday to take in some skating, and Messing showed off his Olympic-caliber moves in videos posted to social media.
The video included Messing performing a backflip, some single-foot spins and even pushing his daughter Mia on the ice with a snowy, mountainous backdrop.
“It was magical,” Messing said.
Messing retired earlier this year from competition after a career as one of Canada’s most decorated skaters. He earned Grand Prix medals, made a pair of Olympic appearances and won two Canadian national championships.
Outdoor ice skating in Alaska is a popular fall and winter activity, from the local ponds to alpine lakes. Rabbit Lake is a more than four-mile hike in from Anchorage trailheads. Messing and his wife Lane rode bikes out, pulling Mia and their son Wyatt in the trailer. At first he said the trip on bikes may have been a mistake.
“I’m not sure it was a smart decision or a stupid one,” he joked. “The kids are 40 pounds together plus gear so you’re talking a 50-pound trailer.”
Messing, who grew up in Girdwood and now lives in Anchorage, said short of the oval at Cuddy Park, it was the best outdoor ice he’d skated on.
“It’s definitely nowhere close to what you’d be skating on at the Olympics,” he said. “But for natural ice, holy smokes, it was so smooth. It was so easy to skate on I was having an absolute ball.”
Messing said he skated Portage Lake last year and did some skates on the ponds between the highway and the inlet in Girdwood as a kid. He said for the video he wore figure skates but also spent some time in nordic skates on the ice. There was even a pick-up hockey game going on the lake, as Messing said members of the Anchorage Drillers U-18 team made the jaunt out to hop on the ice.
“There were probably at least 20 people out on the ice up there, but it’s so big and so spread out, you just found your own pack of ice and you’re out there having a good time,” he said.
Messing, whose mother was born in Canada, is set to join the Stars on Ice Holiday Tour starting next month. The tour includes nine shows in Canada and one in Duluth, Minnesota.