Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sharpening the Blades

Normally when I go into get my blades sharpened everyone rolls their eyes.  "They're still sharp enough!" they say and laugh.

So this time, I waited.  And waited. For about 80 skating hours.  Until I couldn't hold an edge.

Are my blades dull enough yet?
This time my skate tech's reaction was:
"These blades are dull!"
Anyway, he told me this story.  When he was skate tech for the Tom Collins Champions on Ice in 2008, he was approached by one of the Russian pro skaters. "You sharpen blades?" the man asked.  "Yes," my tech replied. The man handed the skates over. They were in awful condition.

My tech, greatly shocked, asked, "When was the last time you had these sharpened."



Pro skaters, they are different than the rest of us.


  1. My skate sharpener recommends a sharpening every 32 hours of ice time. Your story of the Russian skater rings so true for the entire Russian Federation and pointedly illustrates how lucky US athletes are in comparison.

    I have SP-Teri skates and make the trip to their factory whenever I need maintenance on my boots. One of the times I was down there, Mr. Spiteri told me his story of how he was at one international competition to fit the Russians for boots and he was taken aback at the condition of their boots/blades. Long story short, the younger members of the delegation were all ordered boots in bigger sizes than they needed. They explained that it was such a rare thing to get new equipment that they wanted to be sure that they could grow into them, not knowing when they would be allowed the next new purchase. Asked how they could possibly skate in boots of the wrong size, the answer was that they stuffed their boots with paper until their feet grew into the boots, thus getting the longest use possible out of them.

    Here's another story: a friend of mine takes ice dance lessons with Sergei Ponomarenko. He tells me Sergei's skates are so beat up but because he is so used to equipment that is falling apart, it does not faze him one bit. If anything comes apart or otherwise needs repair, Sergei manages to do amazing feats of Jerry-rigging with whatever he's got on hand, just like he had to do out of sheer necessity back when he was competing!

    1. Normally I go at 40 hours, but life got in the way, and I got tired of coaches and tech telling me "There's plenty of life in these!"