Well, I’m an adult figure skater and it’s one of my favorite times of year. Why? Because it’s the only time of year where you have the ability to skate outside. Skating is a great way to enjoy the festive atmosphere, but you need to be prepared if you are only a recreational skater.
Know Before You Go
Skating during the holidays is expensive. You will be expected to pay for the general admission and for your skate rental if you don’t own your own skates. I would say the average price is going to be about $20. It is also likely to be crowded. If you do not like crowds, avoid weekends and evenings. If you have the ability, skate in the morning or early afternoon.
Be prepared to be cold and wear the proper clothing. I can’t tell you how many times people try to look “cool” and wear leggings or other thin clothing items. When I skate, I always wear a sweater, coat, gloves and scarf. I layer because I have no problem taking the clothing items off later on. It’s better to be comfortable and warm than freezing. It makes the experience miserable.
Jeans are a good material to wear, but they can leech the cold air in. If you think you might fall a lot, don’t wear a good pair of jeans. There is no shame in kneepads either. I wear them when I’m working on more complicated jumps. I would rather avoid painful bruises.
Rental skates run pretty true to street size shoes. They usually don’t come in half sizes. Bring an extra pair of socks; the skates are not all that comfortable as they are generic and not custom made to your feet. You will get blisters in thinner socks. The rental skates should be tight, but don’t so tight they are cutting off the circulation to your feet.
There are two main types of skates, hockey skates and figure skates. What’s the difference? Hockey skates do not have a toe pick at the front of the blade and are not as flat as figure skates. They are flater and are very similar to roller blades or inline skates. I would recommend these fore adults as they are not good beginning skates for kids or people who don’t feel confident on the ice.
Figure skates are generally the best for kids and beginners. Adults could go either way but I’ve personally found they are a little more comfortable. You may be able to try both types of skates. Take a few steps in each to see how they feel before you make up your mind.
Once you step out onto the ice, avoid the middle. Kids love to dart in and out and will do whatever they can to show off to their friends. The middle of the ice is typically reserved for skaters who are more aware of what they are doing or may be practicing higher level skills. Hold onto the wall on the rim of the rink until you get your berrings.
Next, once you feel you are ready to step away from the wall, work on standing and began to glide slowly, left, right, left right. You’ll get the hang of if pretty quick. You can try to keep your feet on the ice and glide they together then apart, together then apart. It’s called a swizzle.
If you feel like you need to stop, aim for the wall. It’s solid and is something for you to be able to grab. I don’t like recommending you try to do a harder stop until you are more aware of what you are doing in your skates.
Lastly, falling! If you fall, don’t stick your arms out to try and catch yourself. That’s one of the first things you learn. Try to take the fall on your bum. It’s one of the most padded parts of your body. When you stand up, slowly get onto your knees and hands. Then try standing up. There should be an ice monitor to assist if you need it.
Take breaks as needed. Skating should be fun and listening to the music and chatting with friends should be a great way to enjoy the holidays. My goal is to someday skate at the Eifel Tower rink, and in London. I hope you enjoyed today’s blog. It’s a little different than normal. Happy travels.