By Ethan A. Kispert

Scottsdale teen Alena Kremer, a high school senior and award-winning figure skater, has started SkateUP, a nonprofit aimed at reducing inequality and promoting diversity in competitive figure skating.

As figure skaters progress through the various levels, the time and financial demands can be burdensome for athletes. Costs can sometimes build up to as much as $20,000 a year. SkateUP helps athletes in need with these expenses. SkateUP aims to “raise money from our partners and the community and use this money to award yearly sponsorships to athletes based on merit and need,” according to the organization.

Part of Kremer’s intention behind starting the organization is to help support skaters who have a hard time participating in the sport due to cost.

“It [the sport of figure skating] is so expensive that it tends to be exclusive,” she says. “So I decided to create a way to allow others to skate even if their family’s income doesn’t allow it.”

“I also want to increase the diversity of athletes within figure skating,” she explains.

Steven Cousins, her coach and also a former competitive skater himself, stresses cohesion and inclusivity as a major aspect of her charity.

“I think the main goal, certainly in my view, is just bringing communities together,” Cousins says. “In my opinion, it’s quite remarkable. To have empathy and just a wider perspective on people and people’s struggles.”

Locally, Kremer practices her craft at the Ice Den. SkateUP currently has the support of two Olympic skaters, experienced coaches, and a new leadership team to help kick-start the effort. The charity plans to award its first sponsorship in June.

SkateUp is accepting donations and welcomes the community to get involved. To learn more, visit or e-mail [email protected].