Skater: Patty Koster, age 73
Hometown: Los Angeles
Involvement with Glacier Ice Rink: Long-time skating instructor and member of Missoula Figure Skating Club
What brought you to Missoula?
I came to Missoula in 1991 with my husband. California was too crowded and we rented a motorhome and drove through Montana, ending up in Missoula. I moved here with my skates and skated at Pineview before Glacier Ice Rink was around. I started skating at GIR when it was built and you had to walk on rubber mats and rugs to the shed.
How long have you skated?
I started skating at age 8 in Lake Gregory. An older gentleman took me under his wing and taught me figures. I saved my birthday money to buy my own skates.
What got you into skating?
I watched every Olympics and was drawn to it before I started skating, because of the techniques and beauty of it. I also found out that a distant cousin was an Olympic hockey player.
What do you like most about skating?
The free feeling. I tell kids when instructing that it’s magical. I love the cold and love the smell of skates.
What’s your favorite on-ice memory?
I used to chase my friends and we’d spray each other. I was able to spray an entire person, but haven’t been able to do that for a while.
What does Glacier Ice Rink mean to you?
I don’t know what I’d do without it. It kept me alive through my husband’s sickness. I could let everything go when I was at the rink, and I met a lot of nice people here.
What do you do outside of skating?
I got golf lessons from Nick at the Ranch Club and hang out there, as well as Café Dolce.