Jun 8, 2010

Summer Skating

School is out today or tomorrow in most districts. Summer's here and with it all those conflicting treats: sunshine and vacation, the beach or the pool, tennis and baseball and hiking. The last thing you're thinking about is skating when the sun is high.

But skating is a great thing to do in the summer, for lots of reasons.

First of all, it's cool. And no, I don't mean the in-crowd does it, I mean it's cool, as in, not stifling hot. Nothing like walking in to a lovely cool ice rink on a 90 degree day. Most places they don't keep it freezing either, so you can comfortably skate in your shirt sleeves.

Second, especially on public skating times, no one is there. You know those hideous crowded sessions in the middle of winter? Gone. There will now be maybe 30 people there on Sunday public, on a crowded day. Classes are smaller, and in some places even practice ice has fewer people.

If you're a competitive skater, summer is "Pre Season" when you solidify the new jump, clean up that Level 4 spin, learn and refine your new program, and design a new costume (fun!). You're gearing up for the late summer "non-qualifying" competitions. Every region has a big competition where you'll find the top skaters trying out their new programs-- Alissa Czisny skated in the DuPage Open (click on DuPage Open in the sidebar-- you'll see Alissa at the top of the board and my daughter at the bottom for 2006. Oh well. She was a mostly an ice dancer.) here in the Chicago area every year right up until her Nationals win. The annual Lake Placid competition is the place to be seen for ice dancers-- a lot of top teams skate.

If you're not a competitive skater, think about attending one of these just to watch. Ask your coach or skating director what the big club competition is in your region, or check the USFS events page. Top skaters often show up at these, and you can watch for free (they'll also often have exhibition fundraisers at the end of the competition, but even these are easy to get tickets to and relatively cheap).

You should set a goal for summer skating. It can be a standard goal--pass a level, land a jump, learn a jump--or a special one, like "start private lessons," "no rules skating" (i.e. skate a lot, but just for fun), "teach my mom to skate," or "make up a program with my best friend."

If you decide just to stick with classes for the summer, don't forget to leave a skating bag in the car with a light sweater or sweatshirt, leggings, socks and gloves. Look into camp options at local rinks-- some have special skating camps, and many include skating as part of the regular camp program if there is a rink in the district. Do your girl scout or boy scout skating badge in the summer-- there's more and emptier ice, and it's a topsy-turvey thing to do--everyone will enjoy the idea of skating in the summer!

Summer is my favorite time to skate. There's an exciting kind of buzz in the air around the competitive kids as they gear up, and everyone there is there because they love skating and no other reason.

Plus, like I said? It's nice and cool.

What are your goals and plans for the summer?


  1. I have never understood why the once a year skater doesn't go once a year in the summer. It's such a nice way to cool down and beat the heat. I hate skating in the winter- it's so cold and my toes freeze. Maybe that's why they only do it once...

    Summer is definetly my favorite time to skate, although there are some sessions where you are cold, but sweating and you just can't decide if you want the jacket or not, if you're hot or cold, and it's annoying.

  2. I think this is the best time of year for the little ones to start learning. They can hit Public skate for mileage and not worry about being mowed down. Bonus points, we don't have AC at home, so the Cooldown is great.

  3. my summer goal is to figure out why my 1 foot glides are jacked up (I started in April!! I'm 15!)
    and learn crossovers soon!!