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New Canaan Winter Club

Group Skating Professional Staff


Christi JonesHead Pro

Christi is returning for her eighth year at the Winter Club and fifth year as Head Pro.   She is a graduate of Principia College with a BA in Fine Arts.  Over the course of her competitive amateur career, Christi trained in St. Louis MO, Dallas TX, Madison WI, Denver CO, and Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor.  As a coach, Christi began working with skaters all over the Midwest.  She has worked with a range of skaters from beginners to National and International competitors, and is also a Power Skating coach for hockey players.  She was the Skating Director at the Ice Zone (practice home of the St. Louis Blues) in its inaugural season, and helped to develop the figure skating program at the acclaimed Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Faribault, Minnesota.  Upon moving to Connecticut, she has worked with skaters at the Darien Ice Arena, Terry Connors, Fairfield Ice Academy, and launched the Skating school at Sono Ice House.  Christi is a former Strength and Conditioning coach, Metabolic Typing Advisor, and Holistic Lifestyle coach.  She is a USFSA Gold Medalist in Figures, Freestyle, and Moves in the Field.  

Outside of teaching, Christi enjoys spending time with her husband and three children.  


Barbara Julian

The Winter Club has been a home skating club to Barbara for over 30 years.  She is a four time USFSA Gold Medalist in Figures, Freestyle, Ice Dancing, and Moves in the Field.  She studied Art and Art History at Villanova University, where she met her husband, and together they had four children.  She has helped skaters develop strong basics and good skating habits.  Not only teaching figure skating, Barbara has also worked with multiple levels of hockey players, training them in the biomechanics of strong skating.  Barbara worked at the Coliseum Skating Club in Voorhees, NJ (home training facility of the Philadelphia Flyers) from 1985-87 where she was the Head Pro of Figure Skating.  She is grateful to be a part of the NCWC family, and looks forward to the coming winter season!


Laura Vescovi

Laura will be returning for her 26th season. She is a graduate of Syracuse University with a BA in English. Laura is former student of Lori Castelli and Diane Brown and has passed her novice freestyle, junior field moves, third figure test and she skated with Walt Disney’s Snow White on Ice.  After some time spent working in New York City for Devries Public Relations, Laura returned to skating.  She began coaching at the Darien Ice Rink.   She also coached in basic skills programs for Terry Connors Rink, Milford Ice Pavilion, and North Branford Ice Pavilion.  For several years she ran the New Canaan Country School skating program and coached two NCWC synchronized skating teams for five seasons.  In addition to basic skills, Laura coaches students who have competed in local and state competitions as well as mastered higher level of tests in figure skating.

In 1997, Laura was selected to choreograph the finale of Champions on Ice featuring Olympic Gold Medalist, Oksana Baiul and in 1998 co-authored a story on competitive skating attire for American Skating World.  In the spring of 2015, she was interviewed and appeared on Montreal’s sports network CH24 .  The television segment highlighted former student, Max Pacioretty in a story timed for the Montreal Canadiens in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Laura lives with her husband and daughter in Branford, CT.


Kelly Ryan

Kelly McDermott Ryan has coached at the NCWC for over 30 years. She is a double gold medalist in figures and free style and has passed her pre-gold dances. Kelly trained in Denver with Carlo Fassi, coach of Olympic champions Peggy Fleming and Dorothy Hamill, and medaled at numerous regional and sectional competitions throughout her amateur career. She was the featured figure skating soloist with the Hartford Whalers NHL team when they were based in  Connecticut .
Kelly has a BA, MA and CAS in Education and has taught high school mathematics for 34 years with Hamden Public Schools. Her daughter is a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania  and her husband is an optometrist in  New Haven County .


Lea Ann Miller

As amateur figure skaters, Lea Ann Miller and her partner Bill Fauver represented the U.S. in both the Olympics and World Championships, and were three-time National Silver Medalists.  After turning professional in 1985, Lea Ann and Bill  dazzled audiences around the world.  They were the featured pair soloists with the John Curry Company and also starred in the Torvill & Dean World Tour, which toured throughout Europe and Australia including a special performance for Princess Diana. Miller and Fauver were featured performers in Stars on Ice from 1987-1992.  Combining their love of classical music and dance with their bold and daring style of skating, Miller and Fauver will always be remembered as one of the most sophisticated acts in professional skating.

Lea Ann’s extensive dance background, along with her considerable amateur and professional experience, helped her shift to choreography a natural one.  She has choreographed for many amateur and professional skaters including 2002 World Pair Champions Xue Shen & Hongbo Zhao, Yuka Sato, Tara Lipinski, Katarina Witt, Brian Boitano, Kurt Browning, and  many more!  Currently Miller is working with world class skaters preparing for the next winter Olympics in Sochi Russia. Miller spent several years as the associate director/choreographer of the renowned Stars on Ice tour starring many Olympic and World medalists such as Scott Hamilton and Kristi Yamaguchi.  The past 15 years  Lea Ann was creative director and choreographer for the Disson skating Series. There she completed over 100 shows combining skating and live musical acts for national telvision. She was an associate producer on the CBS coverage of the Albertville and Nagano Olympics.  Lea Ann has been honored as one of the most influential people in the skating industry by International Figure Skating Magazine.

In a new twist, Lea Ann is now using her skills in live event production to create fantastic weddings and private parties. She's also putting her creativity to work  as Co-Chair of the Entertainment committee at American Yacht Club in Rye, NY where she has brought the club’s entertainment to a new level. 

Kari Pinkernell

Kari received an undergraduate degree from St. Lawrence University and an MBA in Finance from New York University.  Kari is a double gold medalist in figures and freestyle and trained with Olympic and World coaches Peter Burrows and MaryLynn Gelderman.  Kari taught skating for two years at Sport-o-rama in Monsey, New York and four years at St. Lawrence University.  She was also the Power Skating coach for her High School hockey team.  Kari returns to skating after spending 14 years working on Wall Street.  Kari is returning for her fifth season at the Winter Club and is a New Canaan resident.


Barret Mulligan Gargano  

Barret is a third generation professional after her mother and grandmother.  She is a US Gold Medalist in both Figures and Freestyle.  She has been teaching for over 27 years and at the NCWC since 2000.  Prior to that she taught at Beaver Dam in Locust Valley, NY.  She works with all levels and ages.  Her focus is to give her students the proper skating fundamentals that will assist them in whichever skating discipline they choose.  Barret also teaches skating for the New Canaan Country School.  Barret is a graduate of Boston College and currently lives in Darien with her husband Trey, daughter, Ridgely and son, Teddy.  


Kari Pace

She teaches at 4 other rinks in the area. She has passed her third figure and intermediate freestyle levels, and is a gold medalist in moves in the field.  More on Kari to come….


Yuriy Tsymbalyuk

Yuri is a graduate of the College of Physical Culture in Moscow.  He is the University games champion, a member of the USSR National team for seven years and a Ukraine National Champion.  More on Yuriy to come….