Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How Much Does it Cost?

I'm a beginner skater. But I'm a serious beginner skater. I have a private lesson every week, plus I take group so I get mid-week ice time. And since I'm 'mature', I figured I'd never advance unless my lesson was an hour a week, so that's more than most people (also, I've found the hour lesson really built up my old lady stamina).

Does it run into money? Yeah. Serious money? Well, to me it's a costly sport, but not an expensive sport. If I was a teenage girl working part time, yeah, it would be serious money. But I've had more expensive hobbies. I flew single engine and aerobatic aircraft back in the 80s,  and rode horses in the 90s. Skating is a lot less expensive than those. To me skating is like 'golf expensive' without the country club membership but not 'skiing expensive' or 'cruise ship vacation expensive'. If in my twilight years I want to have some good times, I hope you won't go all "Occupy Skating Rink" on me.

Let's break it down with some rough numbers:

$2100 a year for privates or $1050 if I took half hour lessons
$400 for group
$600 for gas to/from the rink
$100 for boot care and sharpening
$240 for test fees (6 tests)
$220 for coach fees for tests

So roughly a little over $3500.  or say $2600 if I took half hour lessons. Maybe $2200 if I dropped group too. Note I don't count ice time. Publics are covered by my group tickets, and my freestyle sessions are just a few times a year. Not enough to count. If I had to add ice time, since I can only get to skate on publics that's bout $1400 a year, if I have to pay it for myself. If I skated on freestyles, It would cost me $450 a year per hour a week I skated. Two hours a week--$900. Four hours a week--$1800. 10 hours a week--$4500.  Even then it's cheaper than many other sports.

In comparison, Spin Guy from my rink and I got into a discussion about what he paid for his daughter's synchro.
$1800 for the team fees
$2200 for travel, costumes, and hotels, but not including coach fees, boot care, etc.
~$1250 for private lesson fees (my estimate)
He's a dad. As he says, "I just write the checks." He started skating when his daughter did. He's taught himself some wicked spins, but as he says, "My money goes to synchro".

How does this compare to hockey? Youth hockey can be inexpensive, but once you get on a travel team, I read it goes up to $10,000 a year.  And that's for 10 year olds. How much it costs for an adult league, I have no idea.

So for a beginner skater, who skates almost every week it's something between $2500-$4500 a year including ice time.  You could make it less by not taking privates, and restricting the number of Freestyles. I suspect it could get really expensive with custom costumes, competition travel and fees, but I'm a rec skater, those fees are not in my budget.

As an adult you won't have the deadlines that kids have if they want to go to the elite level. You can shape your budget to meet your needs and income. You can skate on publics rather than Freestyles to keep ice fees down. If you can sew you can make your own costumes or skating outfits.  This is an affordable sport for those interested in skating for exercise and maybe some testing. Those wanting to compete can go as high as they want!


  1. What a mistake to calculate my expenses, I can no longer hide under the rock and lost my peace of mind!!! ;(

  2. I had a friend who had the most beautiful straight line 3 turns at speed. He told me they cost him $5000 .... for each foot. I guess that's $1250 an edge. He said that after he calculated that number he never looked at his skating bills again.
    But really, I've seen what people spend on sailing, and kayaking, and golf. Skating is not the most expensive sport out there unless you compete.

  3. Yeah after seeing your post I started to add up my expenses for last years skating, when I got to $4000 I stopped adding. I love skating and it's worth every penny so I'm not going to even think twice about the costs. However I don't think I'll tell my husband how much I spend :)

  4. I was made redundant last year and my new job meant a big pay cut so if I want to continue to skate I HAVE to budget for it! :(

    For me...

    2x30 mins one to one lessons/week, Boot care and sharpening, NISA membership and testing. (I live 5 mins walk from my rink so no additional travel costs.)
    => ~£1200 not including ice time

    Ice time = Patch (Practice ice) x2 a week + 1 club session a week (which includes a free 30 min group dance lesson) + very occasional public sessions
    => ~£800

    Total including ice time = £2000 GBP (so ~$3000 US dollars)

    My budget is set based on my normal skating costs but my rink is shutting for 3 months in the summer and it is not clear whether we will manage to get any patch time at other rinks within travelling distance at a time I can make. I have another £400 to cover these extra travel costs plus any new guards, skating specific clothing and anything else I'll need during the year.

    I think I spent ~£2000 last year (including a new pair of skates @£360) but I didn't have as many lessons and skated more on public sesions which are a little cheaper.

    taka xx

  5. Anonymous 9:47 I'm glad you found another job.
    What I found interesting is that $3-4000 seems to be a rough cost for a serious recreational adult skater regardless of the country.

  6. I'm late to the party here, but I've been considering what I'm spending on skating lately. I'm new to the sport, but I've had some advantages thrown my way: I got used skates on eBay that actually fit me, but I had to upgrade this week. Luckily another skater just retired her barely broken in boots that are my size. The rink is only a couple of blocks away, so I save on travel. coffee is included in the Coffee Club fee of $6.00. I do know how to sew, so I can work out my outfits when the time comes. I feel like I get to put my funds towards what matters most in my mind: paying my coach for private lessons, 30min/half-hour. I have to say, skating is more expensive than a monthly gym membership, but I'm not bored with this sport. I feel adequately challenged by it. Getting coaching is costing me about the same as psychotherapy or physiotherapy, but both of those are less fun!