Olympian ice skater Luiz Taifas shares his frosty vision for the future of Loudoun County.
The beginning of Loudoun County’s newest ice rink began like many other business ventures: with a simple question.
“Working in this area, I was like, ‘Why is there not something here, in the capital of the United States, in the capital of the world, like there is everywhere else?’” says Luiz Taifas, founder and owner of ION International Training Center, which opened in Leesburg in mid-June. “I was complaining all the time to my wife and she was like, ‘Why don’t you open one?’”
With that, ION was born—a public ice rink and training center for figure skating, ice hockey, synchronized skating, speed skating and ice dancing. It joins relative newcomer The St. James, a sports complex in Springfield, and MedStar Capitals Iceplex in Ballston, where the Caps practice, as the popularity of ice hockey and figure skating continue to heat up in the region.
ION’s offerings are age-inclusive, including weekly group classes, public skating, private lessons, a public gym and a cafe. “It’s open to everybody,” says Taifas. “From 3-year-olds who want to learn how to skate to competitive figure skating and hockey, we have all the programs, for beginners to the most advanced.”
ION hopes to become home to the best professional figure skaters, ice hockey players and performers in the DC Metro area. And Taifas has the credentials to make that happen. “I have been skating since I was 3 years old, and I started competing when I was 6,” he says.
“I represented Romania as a member of the Olympic team from 1984 until 1998 and I was a national champion of Romania, a Balkan champion and, at my highest ranking, I was sixth in the world.”
Kids of all ages can cool off this summer with 30-minute weekly group lessons and level-one synchronized skating and basics of figure skating classes. And, as of press time, ice hockey teams have formed for upcoming seasons, but tryouts will be held frequently. Those interested in registering for lessons may do so at ION’s website. // 19201 Compass Creek Parkway, Leesburg