For 15 summers, Russian figure skaters Elena Leonova and Andrei Khvalko have done just that. The two-time world professional champions (1999 and 2000) are two of the core skaters in Sun Valley Resort's long running summer ice shows—a tradition almost as old as the resort itself.
The pairs/adagio skaters started skating in Sun Valley shortly after they were married (in Reno, Nev.). Then they lived in San Francisco—today they have two children and are based out of Moscow, Russia.
The Idaho Mountain Express caught up with the family to find out what life as a Sun Valley summer transient is like.
IME: Are your girls fans of ice-skating?
Leonova: Annabelle, who is 3, really enjoys skating. This is the best place to introduce kids to skating. Usually it's cold at an ice rink, indoors and dark. But here it's gorgeous—you're wearing shorts, surrounded by mountains and you're on the ice. Our little one has a new skating dress and she really just loves it. But Liza, at about age 5, we figured out this is not what she wants to do. She loves to be on the ice and run around, but this is not her thing, to be a figure skater.
IME: What are your long-term plans? Are you going to keep moving back and forth between Russia and the U.S.?
Leonova: The reason we're in Moscow now is because we are still Russian skaters. Ice-skating is big in Russia right now so we have so many shows. We moved back there [from San Francisco] six years ago, but it was always going to be a temporary move. We'll be there definitely through winter Olympics in Sochi [Feb. 7-23, 2014]. But after the Olympics, when there will be a new generation of professional Russian skaters, that will be a good time to come back to the U.S. and maybe start focusing more on a teaching career.