Notes For New Skaters
It’s the start of a brand new skating season and with it comes a whole bunch of new skaters! During the fall months, I often get bombarded with the same questions so I’ve decided to dedicate this page to answer them all.
What differentiates a “good” skate from a not so good skate? (Frequently phrased as: What is the difference between the $30 or $40 skates I just bought my child from WalMart/Canadian Tire/[insert other department store here] and the skates you are selling?)
The main difference between the skates you can find at department stores and stores like Canadian Tire and our skates is the amount of support in them. A skater needs to have skates that support his/her ankles, otherwise learning to skate is very difficult. You can test the support of a skate by taking your two thumbs and, placing one on each side of the side of the boot, press down where the ankle bone would be. If the side of the boot is easy to push in, then there is little or no support in the boot. Likewise, if it is difficult to push the side of the boot in, then there is good support in the boot.
This is an example of a pair of skates that have little support in them. If you look where the arrow is pointing, you can see that the side of the boot is so weak that it flops over. I refer to skate like these as “paper” skates because the sides are so weak they are almost like paper.
I’ve just bought my child a pair of used skates. How can I tell if they fit properly or are the right skate for my child?
Probably the most important element in purchasing used skates is ensuring that there is enough support left in the skate. Many competitors attempt to offset the cost of skating by selling their old equipment. Many of these skates, while originally being of very good quality, are now at the end of their life span and have been broken down or are close to breaking down. A broken down boot is indicated by creases in the side of a boot that go to or past the ankle bone. Fit is essential in a skate. There should never be more than a tight finger behind the heel of the skater’s foot when the skater’s foot is pushed as far forward in the boot as possible (without crunching the toes).
My child is just learning to skate. What should he/she wear?
For children learning to skate, staying warm is important, as is wearing clothing that provides good mobility. If the skater is wearing pants, they should be snug fitting (not baggy) and it helps to have another layer underneath them, such as a pair of tights. Close fitting tops and jackets are also essential. Snow pants/ski suits may be good for tots just learning to skate but make moving around on the ice difficult for those who are more advanced. Mondor makes great fleece dresses (starting at $89.99) and some great velvet practice dresses (starting at $63.99) which are perfect for beginning skaters.
This is an example of one of the many kinds of fleece dresses available for young skaters. These ones are from Jerry’s and are prices around $79.99 USD
How often should I get my child’s skates sharpened?
Skates should be sharpened after every 20-24 hours of skating. We also recommend sharpening a week before a competition or skating test
When to I use guards? Blade Covers?
The hard plastic guards are used for walking. They are put on the skates before the skates are put on the skater and are placed on the side of the boards when the skater goes onto the ice. When the skater gets off of the ice, they are put back on the skates while the skater walks to the benches to take off his/her skates. DO NOT leave the skate guards on the blades OR put the skate guards back on the blades after wiping. The blades will rust. Instead blade covers should be put on the skates which offer both moisture absorption and protection for the blades.