Julie Boulais of Pittsfield has been competing at the Bay State Winter Games for several years, twice qualifying for the State Games.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Figure skating has taken Pittsfield's Julie Boulais across the country to compete.
On Friday, she was happy to make a much shorter trip up Route 7 to compete at the 2014 Bay State Winter Games.
Boulais, 17, a senior at Pittsfield High School, skates for the Pittsfield Figure Skating Club.
For one weekend each winter — or, this year, spring — Williams College's Lansing Chapman Rink is home to one of her favorite events.
"I just like going there and competing," she said on Thursday before heading to the rink for a practice session. "It's really fun for me. I like Bay State Games more than other competitions because a lot of skaters go to them. It's fun to get a feel for other skaters and how they interpret their skating.
"There are people who come from Connecticut and Rhode Island. It's exciting to see different people and how they skate.
"And also it's exciting because it's a qualifier for the State Games of America."
Boulais has taken advantage of that opportunity twice before, qualifying for the State Games in San Diego in 2011 and Hershey, Pa., a year ago.
She has two gold medals and a silver in the last four years at the Bay State Games
On Friday morning in her final go around at the games, Boulais placed fourth in the Juvenile Test Track Group C. Her PSFS teammate Stacey Tutela of Dalton finished first for one of two gold medals in the first two competitions for the Pittsfield club; Williamstown's Petrea Mannello won the Juvenile Test Track Group B gold.
Boulais said the competition has gotten tougher as she has moved up through the ranks, and the standards for her level this year require a tricky new element, an Axel jump.
"For the most part, I'm confident in it," she said. "A couple of months ago it wasn't too good, but over time I've worked at it. And I'm getting pretty confident."
With plans to attend Berkshire Community College in the fall to work toward a career in radiology, Boulais said she is not sure how much time to keep working on her skating and continue competing at events like the Bay State Games.
But after 10 years with the PFSC, she is not about to give up the sport entirely.
"Probably I'll just be coaching mostly," she said. "I've been coaching kids for a year now — mostly the really young ones in basic skills. They could range from 4 to 7 years old.
"I like it. It's really fun."
Local skaters competing at this weekend's Bay State Games figure skating at Williams' Lansing Chapman Rink (competition runs until 10 p.m. on Friday, 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday) include:
Christmas Brook Figure Skating Club: Emily Daigneault, Natalie Pompi, Daniel Pompi, Ashton Goyette, Abby Coleman, Ayla Senecal, Jacy Howland, Emily DelPietro, Shaleigh Levesque, Samantha Whittum, Lauren Hunt, Yvonne Koperek, Hannah Fuller, Alexis Desroches, Jacquiline Rich, Elizabeth Hunt, Samantha Dorwin.
Pittsfield Figure Skating Club: Aimee Boulais, Petrea Mannello, Stacey Tutela, Julie Boulas, Brooke VanBramer, Payton Wojtkowski, Mackenzie Rougeau, Daniella Santamarina, Allison Lamke, Rebecca Drager.