Michael Keye-Schuler leads a speed skating clinic at Treadwell Arena on Nov. 30, 2019. Keye-Schuler co-hosted Juneau’s first-ever short-track speed skating class with former competitive speed skater Andrew Dyke of Michigan on Nov. 24, 30 and Dec. 1. (Nolin Ainsworth | Juneau Empire)

Michael Keye-Schuler leads a speed skating clinic at Treadwell Arena on Nov. 30, 2019. Keye-Schuler co-hosted Juneau’s first-ever short-track speed skating class with former competitive speed skater Andrew Dyke of Michigan on Nov. 24, 30 and Dec. 1. (Nolin Ainsworth | Juneau Empire)

This Juneau man loves speed skating. Now he’s spreading that passion to others.

Michael Keye-Schuler leads three-session class at Treadwell Arena

A competitive cyclist, Michael Keye-Schuler got his start in speed skating over a decade ago while living in Ketchikan. He moved to Juneau about five years ago in part for the additional outdoor skating opportunities, and he logs several thousand kilometers every winter on various lakes.

Now, he’s hoping to spread that same dedication and enthusiasm to others.

The Ketchikan transplant led Juneau’s first-ever speed skating clinic over the past two weekends, taking over a dozen adults and youth under his wing to learn some of the basics of the sport.

“I think it’s a great sport because it’s non-contact, it’s strengthening, it’s great for your balance,” Keye-Schuler said in an interview after the second of three clinics. “So I want to believe that there’s a lot of people in town that have kids that want to skate but they don’t want to play hockey and they’re not really interested in figure skating.”

Michael Keye-Schuler leads a speed skating clinic at Treadwell Arena on Nov. 30, 2019. Keye-Schuler co-hosted Juneau’s first-ever short-track speed skating class with former competitive speed skater Andrew Dyke on Nov. 24, 30 and Dec. 1. (Nolin Ainsworth | Juneau Empire)

Michael Keye-Schuler leads a speed skating clinic at Treadwell Arena on Nov. 30, 2019. Keye-Schuler co-hosted Juneau’s first-ever short-track speed skating class with former competitive speed skater Andrew Dyke on Nov. 24, 30 and Dec. 1. (Nolin Ainsworth | Juneau Empire)

Keye-Schuler and co-instructor Andrew Dyke have each competed nationally in the sport, which has been an Olympic Winter Games staple since 1924. Up until recently, there were no loaner speed skates in town. That changed this year. A Vancouver, British Columbia, speed skating club wrote on social media that its old club skates were in need of a new home. Key-Schuler asked if they would be willing to send a few pairs to Juneau.

“They said you can have them all,” Keye-Schuler said. “They sent me 22 pairs of skates. I paid for shipping, and they sent these 22 pairs of skates. And they’re not high-end skates, they’re club skates, but at this level, it’s just a gift to have them. The rink is housing them here.”

Celia Wheeler was one of a handful of youth on the ice Saturday. A member of the Juneau Nordic Ski Team, Wheeler said the speed skating felt similar to Nordic skiing.

“It’s very similar to skate skiing because you have to do the whole balancing on one leg,” Wheeler, 16, said. “But it’s just more drawn out and lower to the ground.”

On her second-ever speed skate, Wheeler already seemed moderately comfortable making crossover turns.

“I’ve learned more about weight transfer and really getting on one side of your body,” she said

Fellow participant Zuzana Culakova was also noticeably advanced in making turns. She said the sport is relatively accessible is her hometown of Rochester, New York, where she’s speed skated a few times.

“Because of the offset on your blade, it’s really hard to do crossovers if you’re not going fast enough,” she said, “but it’s also really scary to do crossovers when you’re moving faster than you’re comfortable. So it’s a balancing act.”

Keye-Schuler spent countless hours to master skills like the crossover.

At one of his common skating haunts in Ketchikan, Ward Lake, Keye-Schuler used his professional background as a surveyor to layout precise short-tracks.

“I would lay out these official short tracks kind of like we did this morning and just skate circles as long as there was ice,” Keye-Schuler said. “In 2010, I started getting more interested in pursuing it and started racing long track at a Master’s national level, which is what I really focus on now.”

Dyke learned speed skating in a much more structured environment. The 22-year grew up in Michigan where a speed skating club attracted about 60 individuals, and he competed in various national competitions. Dyke is thrilled to pick it up again after moving to town earlier this year for an engineering job.

“I was probably skating as soon as I could walk practically,” he said.


• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or nainsworth@juneauempire.com.


More in Sports

Israeli Olympic racewalker Shaul Ladany holds his 1972’s Olympic race shoes for a portrait in Omer, Israel, Sunday, July 12, 2020. In an instant, the world record holder in the 50-mile walk was thrust into one of sports’ greatest tragedies and a seminal moment in modern history _ the kidnapping and massacre of his fellow Israeli team members at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The killing shocked the world, gave the Palestinian cause an audience and ushered in a new era of global terrorism. Ladany, a Holocaust survivor, the lessons still linger. He says it taught him to “never be afraid” but become “more careful.”(AP Photo / Ariel Schalit)
Israeli racewalker recalls surviving 1972 Munich massacre

In an instant, he was thrust into one of sports’ greatest tragedies.

Linda Kruger approaches Father Brown’s Cross and the finish of the Juneau Trail and Road Runners Mount Roberts Tram Run on Mount Roberts Trail. The event sponsored annually by the Goldbelt Mount Roberts Tramway. (Courtesy Photo | Jeff Gnass)
Dozens participate in distanced Mount Roberts Trail run

Fastest time was just over 24 minutes.

Courtesy photo | Alexandra Razor 
                                Former members of the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaat.at Kalé softball team will play an alumni game on Sunday to raise money for travel and equipment for the team.
JDHS softball team to hold alumni game

It might be the first alumni game held by the JDHS softball team.

Crimson Bears hold virtual awards ceremony

Coaches acknowledge hard work and dedication.

Micah Grigg, a Thunder Mountain High School graduate, will be swimming for Lenoir Rhyne University in North Carolina in the fall, signing with the school’s team this spring. (Courtesy photo | Micah Grigg)
Two members of Juneau’s swim club are college-bound

North Carolina and Fairbanks are a little further than a 1650-yard race away.

Thomas Waerner, of Norway, celebrates in Nome his win in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Waerner is still waiting to return to his home in Norway. Waerner and his 16 dogs have been stranded in Alaska by travel restrictions and flight cancellations caused by the coronavirus pandemic. (Marc Lester | Anchorage Daily News via AP, File)
Virus strands Norway racer in Alaska after Iditarod win

Man and 16 dogs been stranded in Alaska by travel restrictions and flight cancellations.

Sosan Monsef hands off the baton to teammate Sadie Tuckwood during the 2018 Alaska Track and Field State Championships. (Courtesy Photo | For JDHS Track & Field)
JDHS track and field coaches bid farewell to seniors

The 2020 Track & Field season was looking to be one for the record books.

TMHS baseball coaches bid farewell to seniors

Unfortunately, these fine young men will never get to know what it… Continue reading

JDHS boys soccer coaches bid farewell to seniors

These seniors had a great run during their years playing soccer at JDHS.

TMHS softball coaches bid farewell to seniors

The Falcon softball team and coaching staff wishes the best to our five graduating seniors

JDHS baseball coaches bid farewell to seniors

We will never know how good we would have been. I do know that we would have worked hard all year