It was a birthday party for a friend that introduced 10-year-old Lori Zimmerman to the world of ice skating. Like thousands of kids before and after her, Lori donned a pair of rental skates at Ralph Evans Rink and Ice Skating School in her hometown of Westfield, NJ and skated into her future. “I loved it right from the start and begged my mother for lessons. Happily she obliged.”
Lori proved to be a gifted skater, and it wasn’t long before she exhausted the coaching that was available at Ralph Evans and was ready for the big time – Codey Arena, (then called South Mountain Arena,) with its full-size rinks and world-class coaches.
“It’s funny, but the very first day I came to Codey Arena was the same day Ken Foster and Kay Barsdell arrived from England to begin team teaching dance – fresh from the Olympics. I became one of their first students here.”
Under the tutelage of Ken and Kay for dance and John McCann and Patty Ensign for freestyle and figures, Lori made rapid progress throughout her teens. But a career in skating was farthest from her mind. She was always college bound.
Lori attended the University of Maryland, College Park, majoring in psychology – (something that serves her very well as a skating coach now.) And quite by accident she discovered she could earn college credits as a teaching assistant for new skaters in a rink nearby the campus. This was her introduction to teaching.
But it wasn’t until she was married and had her first child several years later, that she started considering teaching as a career choice. At the time, her husband, Scott, encouraged her to get back on the ice, and Ken Foster welcomed her to help with group instruction.
That was over 15 years ago, and she’s been teaching groups and private lessons ever since. She also supports Geri Lynch Tomich and the Synchroettes, focusing on training and traveling with the Preliminary team for the past nine years. “I love what I do and really care about kids reaching their goals,” says Lori. “We work hard and the results pay off. But we have fun too.”
Today Lori lives with her husband, Scott, and two children, Ross and Jaymi, also a passionate skater. Lori enjoys going out to dinner with her family and Broadway shows. Her personal philosophy on the ice: “Skating is the time to leave your troubles at the door. It’s the best therapy!”