Just because you didn’t learn how to skate when you were a kid doesn’t mean you’re doomed to sit rinkside every winter for the rest of your life.
Whether you want to learn to skate, or you just need to brush up on the finer points of not falling down, CBS Skate Club and Prince of Wales Skate Club offer adult learn-to-skate programs, tailored specifically for those 17 and older.
The Prince of Wales adult program operates on Wednesday evenings at Feildian Gardens (244 B Pennywell Road), and teaches the CanSkate program. CanSkate is a basic learn-to-skate program that can accommodate all ability levels, including absolute beginners.
Before you hit the ice, you need to get your skates on. “Get a good fit,” says Barbara Kirkland, Executive Director of the Prince of Wales Skating Club. “When purchasing skates buy lace-up hockey or figure skates – not the moulded plastic skates. Ask the professionals at the store to help you fit your skates properly.”
When you’re out skate shopping, wear a pair of tight-fitting socks or tights, the same pair you’ll be wearing when skating. Whether new or second-hand, firm ankle support is essential. Skates should fit snugly around the ankle and heel with some room for movement of the toes. The space at the back of the heel should be no more than a pencil-width. When you walk around in the skates off the ice, they should feel comfortable, not pinched or loose.
“I would recommend putting skate guards on and walking around your house in your skates, prior to attending classes, to get used to them on your feet,” says Kirkland.
“All skaters must wear a CSA (Canadian Standards Association) certified hockey helmet,” says Kirkland. For your helmet, the fit should be snug, and both the strap and the helmet should be adjustable.
“New skates do not come sharpened, so you will need to get them sharpened,” says Kirkland. You can get your skates sharpened at a number of places around town for less than $10. It’s recommended that you get your skates re-sharpened after approximately 30 hours of skating.
As for skate-friendly clothes, dress for warmth, but allow for movement. A full ski suit will keep you warm and dry (and add a little padding for falls) but may restrict your movement. As with most cold weather activities, dress in layers: a base layer of long underwear under sweats, sweaters, and jackets. Above all, warm mittens or gloves are a must. For many reasons, long scarves are not advised. “Our Adult CanSkate program is currently taking registration for our Winter Adult CanSkate session until the session is full,” says Kirkland. In late December, the program was half-full.