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because you're never too old to lace up and hit the ice
An adult skating community
Intro Post 
8th-Oct-2009 02:23 pm
sharon tire
I'm an adult figure skater (serious but not competitive) looking for other adult skaters to chat with and trade tips.

I started figure skating lessons in December of 2007, mostly because I was looking for a way to stay active through the winter when biking season was over. I didn't skate as a child except for a little bit of bumbling around on the local mill pond with over-large skates. I took a couple of quarters of figure skating in college just for fun, but that was almost 40 years ago and I have forgotten almost everything I learned. Skating is definitely NOT like riding a bike, I've discovered!  As you get older (and in my case, fatter) your center of gravity changes, balance of muscle tone changes, and apparently some of the brain cells just die off. Anyway, it was almost like starting over from scratch - I couldn't even skate backwards on two feet!  Not only that, my feet would tense up so much when I skated that I had to stop and rest every 10 minutes to keep my feet from cramping. Not a very auspicious beginning.

But I love the feeling of gliding along on the ice, and dimly remembered that it was even more fun when I could find my edges and do a few turns, so I kept at it. I scoured the Web looking for ice arenas in my metro area that offered adult lessons and/or open skating at times that were useful for a working adult. I found that schedules for both lessons and open skating vary wildly from month to month and ended up with a spreadsheet tracking the schedules at a multitude of ice arenas. I've taken lessons at 3 different locations, and have 6 different rinks that I track for open skating. With one thing and another I have managed to keep skating 1 to 3 times a week year round (although the pickings are pretty thin in August and early September!).

I really love skating, but I have to admit that I have very little natural talent for it.  Although I was an active tomboy as a child and have enjoyed physical activity my whole life, I have always been something of a klutz. I just don't have terribly good balance, so my progress has been slow. But I do keep inching forward, especially when I manage to skate three times/week.

As I close in on 2 years of skating, here's where I'm at:
  • I can now skate for up to an hour and a half (the longest block of time available to me) - a big improvement over stopping every 10 minutes to unclench my feet! 
  • Forward edges: pretty good on all four.  Backward edges: I can do them all, but my balance is weak on the left leg.
  • Forward crossovers: good, although I find it awkward on a large circle. I'm pretty good at using tight crossovers to change direction.
  • Back crossovers: a year ago when I was testing for Beta I had it down. But I've been working on other things for last 6-9 months and my CCW back crossovers have decayed alarmingly. I'm taking lessons again, and my teacher is pushing me to practice this.
  • Stops. My right T-stop is really good. Left one is okay, but I usually stop on the other foot. Snowplow stop - what a dumb move. Why would anybody every use this stop once they learn the t-stop? They made me do it in my first class, but I haven't done it since. Hockey stop - I can sort of do a one-footed version one direction, but not very well. I would like to learn this, but it's never come up in any of my lessons. I think that figure-skaters don't really like this stop and they don't like teaching it.
  • Forward swing rolls and chasses: I took beginning ice dancing for 6 months and got reasonably good at these moves.
  • Forward and backward slaloms (2-footed): I love doing these. My favorite warmup.
  • One-footed slalom (I think it's called something else, though): I can do 4 or 5 of these before i start to lose my balance. Fun.
  • Forward inside mohawks: I can do these both directions, but my form is very sloppy in the R to L direction.
  • Right outside reverse mohawk (step-out): I can do this easily right-to-left, but am totally unable to do it the other way. It's all part of my weakness with LBI and LBO edges.
  • Three-turns. My nemesis. I've been on the edge of mastering the RFO 3-turn for over a year and never seem to get any better. Hopeless at the LFO 3-turn. Haven't even tried the inside turns.
  • Cross-behinds: a weird move that came up in my ice dance class and was clearly way beyond my ability. I worked on it for weeks, hanging onto the wall, and can now do them (slowly) with a straight glide in between. I actually got to the point where I could do two in a row, but never made it to to three (which is what the Rhythm Blues calls for).
  • Combinations:  5-step mohawk: I can't do it gracefully, but I can get through the sequence. Power 3: I could probably do this in at least one direction if I ever master the 3-turn.

My current goals:  3-turns!!!  I am determined to learn this move before my 2-year anniversary! I would also like to learn the hockey stop and improve my form on the RFI mohawk.

So... that's where I'm at. How about the rest of you?

9th-Oct-2009 05:07 am (UTC)
Wow, you are doing great. I love the way you are inching your way through the basics of skating. It seems to me you are going to be prime for ice dancing, especially when you start getting through the 3 turns. Have you given ice dancing any thought?
9th-Oct-2009 03:34 pm (UTC)
Oh, yeah, I love ice dancing! The rink where I've been taking most of my lessons has an ice dancing class - the only one in the metro area as far as I know. They were having a hard time getting enough students for it and let me in even though it is clearly beyond my skating skills at the moment. I was okay for the first couple of dances - then we hit the Rhythm Blues with that screwy X-Behind, X-Behind, X-Behind sequence and I realized just how far I was in over my head. :-)

I took a second session of the classes anyway, but by that time the class was starting to fill up with more advanced skaters and it was clearly beyond me. So this fall I dropped out of ice dance to work on my basics. It's my intent to go back to ice dancing once I have mastered all the turns and can do 3 cross-behinds in a row.

Are you an ice dancer, iceianoosh? And thanks for the kind response!

Edited at 2009-10-09 03:39 pm (UTC)
10th-Oct-2009 12:48 am (UTC)
Ahhh you're doing great! I'm jealous! I took up skating as an adult more than 10 years ago, but then stopped after I moved away from Massachusetts. I'm about to get started again but I am afraid I will have forgotten everything I once knew (which wasn't much - I was able to do a salchow once. Or possibly twice. and I never learned how to do a one-foot spin ._.)

I'm going to an ice rink today to try and get my feet under me, but I have no idea where to get my skates sharpened and I am so, so nervous ........... *cry*
10th-Oct-2009 04:02 pm (UTC)
Hey, it's great that you're getting back to it! It may take you a few sessions to get your ice legs back, but I'm sure you'll start having fun quickly. Just don't expect too much of yourself in your first set of lessons. It sounds like you're quite a bit more advanced than me - I'm still working on the basics.

People I skate with make a huge deal about where they get their skates sharpened, but I'm becoming skeptical. I've heard one person declare that they would NEVER get their skates sharpened anyplace but SkateshopA, and the next day heard someone else saying that SkateShopA has no idea how to sharpen figure skates; only SkateShopB knows how to do that properly... and so on down the line. There is no consensus at all, just blind loyalties. I just go back to the shop where I bought the skates.

Let us know how it goes!
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