These are just a few highlights of the history of the Ice Chalet. For more details and photos, check out the book, “Robert Unger: Something for Everyone” published in 2019.
Ice Chalet Timeline
50 Years of Something for Everyone!
The 50th Annual Robert Unger ISI Competition was celebrated (May 3-5). A biography of Robert Unger (with a brief history of the Ice Chalet) was published under the title, “Robert Unger: Something for Everyone.”
A Resurgence of Figures; Shipstad Family Honored
The World Figure Sport Society held its first workshop at the Ice Chalet; At the WFS Championships in Vail, Colorado, Ice Chalet teacher Mary Lu Shipstad and her family were recognized for their contributions to ice skating. The ISI Theatrical Challenge was held at the Ice Chalet.
Larry LaBorde Leads the Way!
Larry LaBorde named ISI’s “Man of the Year” for the second time. The “Larry LaBorde Award for Exceptional Merit” was established – first recipient: Jonathan Shelton.
Extensive ice floor renovation made it possible for the Ice Chalet to remain open year-round. The skating school was renamed “The Robert Unger and Larry LaBorde School of Ice Skating.”
Resurfacing Goes Electric!
Longtime staff member and Pro Shop Director Gregory Fuller helped the Ice Chalet Skating Club purchase the rink’s first electric Zamboni. Computer-controlled lighting installed to enhance shows and spotlight events.
Robert Unger Trophy Comes Home!
Larry LaBorde became the primary shareholder of Chalet Ice Rinks, Inc. The Ice Chalet team won the ISI Winter Classic competition in Oxford, Ohio, and brought home the permanent “Robert Unger Trophy.” First Annual ProSkaters East Coast Auditions and Performance Camp held at the Ice Chalet. Pro Skating Historical Foundation’s..Read More
Celebrating 50 Years!
In July, the Ice Chalet kicked off a year-long 50th Anniversary celebration.
A Real Pro Shop!
Ice Chalet Pro Shop built.
MVDC Becomes Robert Unger ISI Competition
MVDC was renamed the Robert Unger ISI Competition. RUMPS merged with the Ice Chalet Skating Club of Knoxville. The engine room was expanded to allow room for additional compressors given to the Ice Chalet by longtime friend Bill Howard, who owned the Holiday Ice Rink in North Carolina.
Saying Goodbye to Robert Unger
Robert Unger team won the Robert Unger Trophy as champions of the ISI Winter Classic competition in Oxford, Ohio. Robert Unger passed away in September.
Curling at the Ice Chalet!
First Rocky Top Open Bonspiel held at the Ice Chalet, hosted by the Great Smoky Mountains Curling Club.
Special Olympics and Special Recognition!
First “Skate-a-thon” held to benefit the Special Olympics of Greater Knoxville and the skating club. “Robert Unger Award for Excellence” established. “Hans Brinker Noble Spirit Award” established. IceHawks logo designed by Julia Hardin.
Ice Chalet Recreational Skating Evolves
Non-profit “Ice Chalet Skating Club of Knoxville” established to support recreational skating.
A Little More Light…
Early 2000s… Windows were gradually added along the wall close to Kingston Pike.
Entrance Logo & Lake Placid Victory!
Graphic depiction of the Ice Chalet’ iconic main entrance was created by Julia Hardin, bringing Larry LaBorde’s vision to life. The Robert Unger team won the ISI Lake Placid Competition, again.
Cafe Chalet Opens!
Cafe Chalet opened — initially operated by parents to help raise funds for competition travel expenses.
Honoring Chambliss & Ruth Pierce
The Pierce Award was established to honor Chambliss and Ruth Pierce; the award is presented to the top team at the annual MVDC. Robert Unger received the inaugural Benton Wilcoxon Award for Excellence in Management from the ISIA.
Skating School logo — a colorful rendering of Mr. Unger’s trademark alpine/tyrolean hat — designed by Patty Googe. Larry LaBorde was named ISIA “Man of the Year.”
Lighting Was Just the Beginning…
“Crow’s Nest” lighting control room built.
The Nutcracker On Ice show was presented in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, as a means of bringing together teams from other rinks. Viewing rooms were built in the far corner of the Ice Chalet.
Ich Beobachte Dich!
Reunion held at the Ice Chalet – celebrated as the 25th, even though it was actually the 27th year. “27” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as “25.” Bust of Mr. Unger presented to him is still in the lobby of the Ice Chalet with the caption: “Ich..Read More
Peter Oppegard Honored
A reception at the Ice Chalet for renowned skater Peter Oppegard, a student of Mr. Unger’s, was presided over by Mayor Victor Ashe.
“Nutcracker On Ice” First Performed!
The Robert Unger School first performed the “Nutcracker On Ice” show downtown on Market Square Mall. Celebrating its 25th year in 2012, the Nutcracker has become a official part of Knoxville’s Christmas in the City celebration.
RUMPS and a Panda Bear
KAISA became RUMPS — Robert Unger Moms and PopS — organized by Pat Kington. The mascot of the Robert Unger skating school was a panda bear.
Parents Organize to Help
A group of parents formed the “Knoxville Amateur Ice Skating Association”(KAISA) to help raise funds for out of town competitions — its first President was Snuffy Trotter.
Students Excel Around the World
Jon Robinson became the first male skater in the world (fourth overall) to compete at the ISIA’s highest level, Freestyle 10. He was also a member of the ISIA’s first World Team, which performed in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (Donnie Ernst joined the team for a repeat visit in 1984).
Robert Unger’s Reputation Soars
Robert Unger was named ISIA “Man of the Year” for the second time for his work in revising the ISIA test and competition standards and for his leadership in recreational skating competitions.
That’s a Lot of Skaters!
MVDC had 600 competitors representing 17 teams from nine states.
MVDC became the first international ISIA recreational skating competition with 20 competitors from Ontario, Canada.
Robert Unger Leads the Way
Robert Unger named ISIA “Man of the Year” for his leadership in developing the learn-to-skate program and inter-rink competitions.