Monday, December 24, 2018

Santa Claus's Boots and Blades

According to NORAD--the military organization that tracks SANTA every year--Santa Claus weighs approximately 250 Lb.

 Santa is SHOCKED! Shocked! I tell you!
Get over it, Santa. It's the cookies
 So, when you see Santa in gifs, and mp4's and even jpgs where he's skating, you may be wondering what boots and  blades Santa uses.

First off, I have some semi-inside  information. My skating friend Jim, weighs 230Lb. We can use him as an analog for Santa. Jim had most of his singles: just no lutz and no axel. Cut him some slack willya. Jim skated in the Jackson Premieres and went through two pair a year.  Now JAckson has stiffer boots: Premier is a 69 on Jackson's stiffness meter, and the Supreme is stiffness 95.  Now at 20 lb heavier than Jim, Santa could certainly go up to the stiff Supreme. However, as we all know really stiff boots are a bitch to break in. It's not unusual for a man who jumps a lot to go through a couple of pair a of lower stiffness boots a year since it saves wear and tear on the ankle and knee. Also, the Supreme (stiffness 95) is intended for quad jumps. The guys that are doing those are probably going through two or three pair a year anyway.  Given a reasonable measure of income for Santa, he can afford to buy two to three pair a year. And since Santa probably cannot do quads without using his magical powers (there's no cheating in figure skating) he doesn't need top of the line stiffness 95 boots.

But since Santa weighs 20 pounds over Jim, he will need a stiffer boot than the Premier. Next up in the Jackson line is the Elite at stiffness level 85. This seems a reasonable solution. Multiple pair a year, middle of the road stiffness, and possibly a custom build.

I would bet that SANTA will need a custom build since with all the tramping around on rooftops, he no doubt has extra wide feet to give him traction. Secondly, I would recommend  double loop scallops at the ankle since that will help him with the break in every six months. I know, I know, double loop scallops are a 'dance thing', but honestly, Santa is still working on getting some doubles, so it's not going to kill him to have a flexible ankle

What Brand of Skate?
 Santa has been skating a long time. He was born in 373 CE, and took up skating sometime in the 17th Century. He's gone through a lot of boots. In the last century, Santa had a strong preference for Oberhammers, but once his last pair died, he had to enter into a search for new custom boots. As we all know, finding a new boot maker is traumatic when your favorite one closes down.He skated in Klingbeil for many years (going in disguise to sit in the big chair for his fitting), then he went to all the manfacturers to get a sample of a custom boot for testing. He's now settled on a final maker, but I'm not allowed to reveal it. However, if you look at some of the pictures of Santa skating, you will see he likes a big rounded toe. Perhaps you can guess.
What Brand of Blade?
Santa likes the Pattern 99. Santa needs a toerake the size of his fist for his toe jumps. He has to propel 250lb into the air, and good form can take you only so far, eventually you need force. The only blade that gives him that power is the 99, although he is tempted by the Gold Seal

What is Santa's Skating Discipline
You'd think it would be men's singles, but Santa likes the ladies. He also does pairs and ice dance. Mrs Claus is quite an active skater, and is also the President of the North Pole Skating Association (an ISU non-voting member). Mrs Claus and Santa ice dance together, although Santa does pairs with Amy the Elf in order to get the size advantage for the throw jumps.

Santa is also VERY fond of figures since he regards it as off-season training for landing on rooftops. Landing  8 reindeer and a sleigh on a modern suburban house requires year round focus on good edges and precision turns in an unforgiving pattern. Santa once considered deploying a mobile air traffic control team with the light up wands and stuff, but in the end decided to use VFR rules--Visible Flying Rudolf rules.

Santa is  competing in the World Figures Sports Skating Holiday Dec 30, in Lake Placid. Keep your eyes open in the Men's competition for the guy in the red hat. That will be him.

 See, Here's Santa's Special Figure


Saturday, December 22, 2018

Learn to Skate: Lanes Vs Circles

In Learn to Skate programs, you have a butt load of marginally skilled skaters skittering in fear across the ice. In pursuit of safety, there is a need to keep the groups separate (So, 'no crashing!'), Also, the training space needs to be arranged so the coach can keep can keep an ey on everyone in the class.

First, let's look at Lanes.

First off, 'there are no rules' of how to lay down the lanes. I won't even say this laydown is 'typical'. Remember I've only seen adult LTS. However, Basic 1 seems to get a whole lane to its self because that's where the most students are. Then the laydow of 3,4,5 and 6 get made based on how many students are in the class. If 2 has 5 people and 5-6 had 7,people, then they may get squished into the same lane with different coaches, while a Basic 3-4 with 12 people in it may get its own lane. The only 'rule' I've seen is that the Basic 1 is always at the opposite end of the rink from Freestyle. And every rink I've done Adult LTS always had a kids Freestyle on the Adult LTS ice.

Also, if you look in the center, you might have a freestyle and a Pre-free, or a heavily populated Basic 5-6. The laydowns seem to all be based on class size.

The one distinct usage of the lanes is that they seem to be really good for Basic skills 1 and 2 because the skills can be skated in straight lines. It's not until you get to Basic 3 that the lessons specifically call out for pumps in a circle. IF YOU'RE A COACH IN A LANES LTS IN BASIC 3 AND ABOVE YOU'RE GOING TO NEED A MARKER TO DRAW THE CIRCLE IN THE LANE.

Why if so much of the LTS curriculum requiring skills on the circle, do some rinks use lanes?

Rinks with LTS in circles.
Technically, the ice is divided into patches, usually with a circle in it. Here's an example.  Every class seems to get the same space. The little trick with circles is in the center ice, I've seen like an extra (third) class crammed in there--this has happened to me. Again, the division of classes depends on how many sign up for that class.

The only problem with circle based classes is they don't benefit Basic 1 and 2 students, who live in perpetual fear of being run over in a circle.

Mixed Laydown

Basic 1 and 2 need lanes. Everybody else needs circles. A full set of classes can use lanes and circles together. And, in real life you can have patches of ice overlap. If Freestyle classes overlap Basic skills classes a little, one expects to have the freestyle skaters avoid the lower level skaters.

I've never seen mixed lanes and circle laydowns. That doesn't mean it isn't used. I haven't skated everywhere. And of course the skating director does all the planning based on class sign ups, so the laydowns are based on that.

And finally, no matter the best laid plans of the skating director, once the coaches get on the ice, there's a lot horse trading for space.  And sometimes the skating director  forgets to assign space to an entire class. This has happened to me not once, but twice!

Where do I get to Skate?

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Changing My Spin Entrance

So,  the spin entrance I started with is mohawk, back cross, step into the circle, spin. 

Now my coach has told me to work on my spin rotation speed, and while I'm still injured to stick to two  feet spins. So, she looked at me and said, "Let's switch some things around and start from a three turn rather than a mohawk."

Sure, whatever

So, I ripped into it; 5 rotations and I could have done more but I got really dizzy at the speed.

"Okay," my coach says. "So you tend to look down when you do mohawks, but you don't for threes. So we're switching to threes to enter the pattern." She drew an X on the ice. "I want you to start with a Forward outside  figure 8, from the x, then when you get back to the x, I want you to switch feet into a FO3  on the other circle and go into a spin."

Me: "Alight then." and I skated thourgh the pattern successfully with a nice spin at the end.

Next she said, "Start on the center x, LFO8, into a LFO3 like a  waltz 8, stroke back into two back crossovers on the second half of the first circle, when you reach the x again, switch into a Right back cross onto the other circle , hold the back edge then step into the circle for a spin."

"Anything else?"


Saturday, December 15, 2018

When I am unprepared to skate

When I forget one glove and I have to borrow one from my coach

When I have to dig into my car's repair kit to protect my toe from a stabby piece of boot tongue where the foam's worn off

Do not to this if you have a hairy toe--ouch! when
you pull it off


Thursday, December 6, 2018

Figure Skating Arithmetic

I'm still in my group lesson as the only student-. I feel like I'm really ripping that rink off, I only paid $116 for 8 group sessions, and the coach makes $35 a half hour. But between the 'group'  lessons and my private coach, I'm making some real progress.

The coach is just laying down the challenges during my half hour 'private group' lesson: perimeter stroking, alternating crossovers through the obstacle course of weird cone laydowns for Learn to Play where barely-can-stop wannabe hockey players who are 6 feet plus wave their arms scarily close to me and occasionally fall I give the right of way, back edges that are perfectly nice, fast spins, and finally even after checking the Basic 6 and pre-Free list of stuff to torture me on the coach says:

"Let's see your Waltz 8."

So I Do This....nicely too, in a complete circle

The Coach says, "That's a nice Waltz 3 Pattern, but I asked for a Waltz 8."


Okay, just so no one jumps on me for making a "girls can't do math joke", I've had advanced calculus, linear algebra, ODE, control theory, stats, plus a butt-load of specialized practical physics and engineering math. I've earned the right to say "math is hard." 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

I'm Constulted at the Rink

So, while I was doing a warmup to get ready for Group Lesson, two boys of about 9 in full hockey gear, skated directly at me and slammed into the shortboards. I did an emergency stop.and narrowly avoided skating into them. As they skated away a little girl came up to me with a sad face and said with a pout: "Hockey boys."

I thought that the only people who used that term, were me,
my readers, and my friends. But no, it's well known.

I was sympathetic and bent over to listen. "They're awful." she said, "And one of them's my brother."

"Well, you have to be nice to your brother." I say. "And he has to be nice to you." I pat her shoulder gently. She smiles and skates away.

Okay, I've done my good deed at the rink for this year. 

Monday, December 3, 2018

Breakthrough Day!!!

Figured out how to do Waltz Threes not only around the circle, 
but ON the circle...
Do them perfectly--with consistency....

Transferred FO3 success skills---
to FI3 ....
Do them Perfectly...

Until my coach looks at me from across the rink--then I fall...


Saturday, December 1, 2018

The Near Death Experience at the Rink

My coach and I were in the center working on my altnernating three turns. As I did one turn, I had my free leg raised when a small child slid on his back under my free leg from my blind side.

The kid came close to clipping me on my skating foot

Actually it could have been worse, because I almost stepped with the blade of my free skate on to his neck.

Instead, he  slid right under the free leg and kept going.

/Since he was on his back, the sight of my blade coming down to his neck must have scared him witless

It was A-OK, I didn't step on him, but it was close.