By Demii Niles 
BELLEVILLE – After many hurdles, jumps and lessons learned, two local figure skaters have qualified for the 2018 national championships.
Chloe Choinard, a 15-year-old former member of the Stirling Figure Skating Club, and Trennt Michaud, 21, of Trenton, a 2017 national junior champion in pairs skating, are ready to take on competition from across the country in Vancouver next month.
Both will be skating in pairs competition, Choinard with Mathieu Ostiguy, 20, of Quebec, and Michaud with 16-year-old Evelyn Walsh of Seaforth, Ont.
A total of 250 skaters will compete Jan. 8 to 14 in Vancouver.
Choinard, who is from Stirling, said she started skating in competitions at the age of six or seven, as a singles skater. Her first pairs competition, with Ostiguy, was this past July at the summer provincials in Pierrefonds, Que. They placed second.
Michaud started pairs skating when he was 11 after watching the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and falling in love with the sport. He and Walsh competed in the 2017 Skate Canada Challenge  in the senior pairs category in order to qualify for the nationals.
Choinard said her mother, Typhany Choinard, has supported her throughout her skating career and puts her main focus on her daughter and her success.
“My mom gives up a lot for this,” she told QNet News from Montreal, where she now lives. “Her hobbies are pretty much me. She gives all she has for me as long as I still want to be successful and love it.”
Michaud now lives and trains in Brantford, Ont. He said he misses his family when travelling for competitions. “I was raised to be able to support myself … so it’s not hard to live on my own. I do miss my family and friends back home. But I’m here. It’s my life now, my job, and I love it. I love what I do, so if this is what I have to do to do it, I’ll do it,” Michaud said in a telephone interview.
To enhance his skating routines he works out – running, doing yoga and learning ballroom dancing. a lot of fitness work is needed to be able to do lifts and jumps on the ice, he said, but good nutrition is also important part.
“You have to be strong and powerful to make the jumps and hold another person up. You have to make it look effortless,” Michaud said.
“The cool thing about skating is that it’s not just an athletic sport – it’s an artistic sport at the same time.”
“Qualifying for nationals feels amazing, it will be my first national. We weren’t able to medal at our last competition but we know we are definitely capable at showing much more than we did and we are really excited to showcase that at nationals,” said Choinard.