KAYSVILLE — Life changed for a 20-year-old Kaysville woman the moment she stepped aboard the Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas cruise ship.
After many years as a competitive skater, Rachel White joined the crew a year ago as a professional ice skater.
At age 9, White began competing as a skater. She qualified for U.S. Nationals as an alternate on three occasions.
She competed in ice skating throughout high school at Davis High and into her first year of college at the University of Utah in 2010.
But while in college, she realized her love for competing was beginning to diminish. However, she wasn’t ready to give up skating entirely.
“Once you’re a skater, it’s always in your blood, and you can’t leave,” White said.
She began looking for other skating opportunities and heard from a friend that working on a cruise ship is one of the better jobs for professional skaters, as opposed to going on tour and living out of a hotel.
White sent her resume and some of her skating videos to Royal Caribbean, who then offered her two six-month contracts on two of their cruise ships — Adventure of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.
Skating several times a week on the cruise ships was a true adventure, White said.
As the only American in the skating cast, she made friends from all around the world.
“The diversity was really eye-opening,” said White, commenting also on the opportunity to get off the ship at ports in the Caribbean, France, Spain and Italy.
Traveling across the world was exciting, but she was mainly in it for the performances, she said.
“I’m addicted to performing,” White said. “You get on stage and you’re able to influence the audience with something you love.
“It’s powerful to affect someone’s life in a positive way for just a minute — that’s my favorite part.”
Only a handful of cruise ships have ice skating rinks, albeit on a small scale.
White had to learn how to skate on a rink one-tenth the size of those she used to perform on. For the first couple of weeks, she had to learn how to do her jumps by skating more slowly, with zero preparation time leading into the jumps.
“It was just an adjustment process. But then it was fine, and I could still spin and jump, just done a little differently,” she said.
Living on a cruise ship, where alcohol flows freely and gambling is prevalent in the casino, was also something new for the skater.
“It was a whole different world on board and very eye-opening to see what’s out there after living in Utah my whole life,” White said.
As one of the few skaters who didn’t drink or gamble, White said she found enjoyment in numerous other activities on board.
She said she also witnessed plenty of double-takes when asked what she wanted to drink and her response was juice or soda.
Having just returned from her skating gig with the Royal Caribbean, her professional skating career is far from over. She is headed to Miami this month for a monthlong ice show, and then to Germany in the fall for a two-month Christmas ice show.
White said she doesn’t want to travel around the world forever, chasing her career.
“I don’t think I’ll skate for the rest of my life, but I would like to coach or judge,” she said. “So many people, once they’re done competing, are just done. I’m so glad to have taken this route.”
Skating professionally is a different world from the stressful world of skating competitively, where skaters train all year for the five minutes they get to prove themselves at the annual regional competition, and then only the top four move on to the sectional competition, where the top four go on to Nationals.
White spent countless hours training and competing at smaller competitions throughout the year.
“You hope you’re peaking at the right time and making sure you’re on it for the one competition,” she said.
What it came down to, though, was how much she enjoyed the experience.
“Competing was great, since it was such an adrenaline rush,” White said.
“I just loved it, because it was so challenging.”