It was 11:00pm last night when Alex Gunther arrived on his parent’s doorstep much to their surprise. Alex, as many of you know, is a Canadian Ice Dance figure skater who started out at the Goulbourn Skating Club here in Stittsville. Alex is here with his skating partner Kaitlyn Chubb who wasn’t able to join us today due to prior commitments.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Alex today to talk about his connections to Stittsville and what he has been up to.
We went back to his beginning years. When skating the Rideau Canal or at various rinks, Alex had a problem with stopping. He could twirl and twirl, but just could not stop properly. After a few tumbles, Alex’s parents decided he needed a few lessons. Albeit, a late starter at 10 years of age, Alex joined the realm of figure skating. Joining the CanSkate program for about a year where Paula worked with him to improve his basics, at 12, his new coach Cathy Skinner, of the Goulbourn Skating Club, took over to help refine his talents.
Alex then moved on to the Gloucester Skating Club where Mike and Allie decided that ice dance was the direction to take. Alex admits that jumps “weren’t his favourite”, so ice dance was the perfect fit. To find a partner was the next step. He skated with several partners over the years, but while performing tryouts in Toronto he met Kaitlyn who skated out of Oakville. They both then came to Ottawa to skate out of the Minto Skating Club (Kaitlyn moved in with the Gunther family during this time) and then the pair moved to skate under the Mariposa Skating Club banner in Barrie, Ontario.
Alex said he didn’t really have a skating idol during his youth, but his friend Parker is someone he looks to for moral support and feedback when needed.
When Alex was young he took part in many community activities here in Stittsville and is proud of his roots. Typical of most young boys, he was in Beavers, Cubs and Scouts. Speaking about Scouts, Alex said “I gave up Scouts so I could add a third hour of free skate”. He also volunteered at the Stittsville Food Bank; Fill the Bus events and canvassed with his Mom door-to-door for one cause or another. He was a member of the bands at both Goulbourn Middle School and South Carleton High School.
I asked Alex if he has thought of coming back to Stittsville to coach – he said “he would like to, but perhaps in the future”.
Alex has taken a break from his studies, but plans to continue in the next year or so at Carleton University, where he is enrolled in the Computer Science program. He, ideally, would like to “follow in his father’s footsteps and get into network computing”. Alex and his younger brother are very close and like to spend time building computers with their Dad in the basement. Alex currently has a small business with some friends selling environmentally friendly products. They are called PPG and “so Personal Product Guys is a business that we’ve created that is directed towards other businesses in an effort to reduce waste and so we sell eco-conscious products such as alternatives to plastic straws,” he explains.
When Alex is home visiting, time does not always allow him to visit our local rinks for pleasure skating – he wants to spend his time with family and friends getting caught up on their lives. He does keep in touch with a group of friends that have been together since kindergarten.
Well, the exciting news to share with you all – Alex and Kaitlyn have joined the Disney on Ice tour. Alex said, “It is a great opportunity to travel North American cities with a cast that have all become close friends. While it is hard because you are constantly on the move from city to city every week, the experience of participating in such a well-known and respected show is something that just can’t be beat“, and is happy that he and Kaitlyn have this respite to come home to Stittsville to rest for a couple of days. You can see Alex and Kaitlyn perform live March 21-24, 2019, when Disney on Ice will be appearing at Stittsville’s Canadian Tire Centre. You can purchase your tickets at: https://www.disneyonice.com/ca/en-ca/ticket-info/100-Years-of-Magic/112400
Alex shared his vlog with me so the people of Stittsville can keep up with his activities and provide hometown support to him – https://www.youtube.com/user/SpudinatorYOW
I am so honoured to have met this wonderful young man and will definitely be cheering him on in all of his future endeavours. I encourage Stittsville to do so too!