Sunday, November 18, 2012

Back When I was an Ice Tourist

It's holiday time and the Ice Tourists, the people who only skate from the second week of November through sometime in February, are out in force. And the shoppers too. So to go to the good rink with the nice ice, used to take 1 hour, now takes 1+45. And then the rink is full. The Year Round Skaters have to be nice, so I'm perfectly pleasant at the rink to one and all.

And when I think I'm full of myself because I'm a better skater than the Ice Tourists, I remember back to my first time ever on public skate.

Here goes.

Here's what I thought skating was like--I was an idiot!
Here's how I walked in skates the first time.
This Cat Has Had Enough
My first fall

Girlfriend Leapfrog Fail
My first fall after I got some speed--but no stops

What Else to Do While in The Kitchen?
And then my desperate attempts not to fall

Skaters Gonna Skate
Then one of the really good hockey boys lays
down some riffs and shows me what he can do--
I vow never to put on hockey skates
But after skating for a while I felt like this:
Rising smile
I think I'm going to love this sport!
Bring it on!

Pretty much everyone starts on public. Be nice to the ice tourists, one of a hundred will love skating so much they'll come back and take lessons!


  1. I was recalling my Ice Tourist days as well yesterday-our rink offers many free skating sessions (you only pay skate rental) during the holiday season and a friend posted a photo of her and her kids. I thought no way will you catch me on that craziness. And then remembered that attending one of those sessions is exactly what prompted my kids to take lessons which then prompted me to take lessons and now I think I like it better than either kid. And that when we first started, we attended several of the sessions for the extra practice.

    1. I don't like winter publics either, but what can you do? There's almost no freestyle so it's sometimes the only ice available.

      Man, the days between Christmas and New Years--Madness, Madness.

    2. Our rink has 3 categories of skate session from Thanksgiving to the New Year-
      Freestyle-I haven't noticed them changing it a lot but I don't consider myself advanced enough to skate on it. Right now, there are probably around 10 advanced skaters that use it plus several less advanced kids taking private sessions to prep for ice show.
      Public sessions-we have mid day sessions and I work 3 days a week so I can usually make at least 1 of these. I'm thoroughly spoiled and it's usually just me and the rink guard. The night sessions do get more of the ice tourists you are describing and last year they didn't have these mid-day sessions so indeed I did them and with a smile. Pretty soon my mid-day sessions will probably have large groups of school kids on field trips.
      FREE public skate-There is often a line out the door for these since you still need a sticker, then there is a separate line for the skate rental. They do sometimes run out of skates. Then you get on the ice with 150 other people and it rapidly turns to snow to skate through. There is no middle coned off section as in the regular public skates just a series of cones straight down the middle to try and guide traffic. We have 2 ice surfaces and they do sometimes shift everyone from one to the other about every 30 minutes so they can zamboni. BUT, I'm one of the people who signed up their kids in lessons after these. More specifically, after my kid grabbed my hand and we both went backwards. Ouch.

  2. The ice tourists are the reason rinks can stay open and charge less than five bucks for two hours of relatively smooth indoor ice. Yeah the kiddie birthday party groups can be a PITA, but when I go to an empty mid-day public (I was the only skater from noon to 2pm at my rink last Wednesday) I wonder how they keep the doors open. Ice time is $275/hour. I pay $3.35 for a 2 hour public, so when I'm on an empty rink it's like getting ice time for less than a buck seventy five an hour! Hate the crowds? My strategy is to take a couple hours of annual leave and treat myself to a mid-week public at mid-day.

    I could also join the rink's FS club and then have access to club ice time, but @ $12.00/45 minutes--on top of club dues it makes those mid-day publics seem mighty cheap. Having said that I may join and go to that club ice time because the timing (Tuesday evenings from 6 to 8pm) is convenient for most coaches who also have day jobs other that at the rink.

  3. One last observation about Public Sessions vs Free Style Sessions: At a public, even a crowded one, almost everyone is predictably going CCW (exceptions are small, unmonitored children; my take on them is that all small, unmonitored children should be given a large, highly caffeinated soda-pop and a puppy and then promptly returned to their parents... Additionally, almost all of the skaters are going relativity slowly.

    In comparison, many Free Style sessions, while hosting a smaller population density, typically host skaters who are moving quite fast and in many different directions--kinda like electrons in an unstable energy shell!

    In my neck o'the woods, some rinks attempt to defuse this by designating sessions for "high" vs "low" free stylers, others limit the population to the first 25 who show up (15 if pairs are practicing)while others seemingly don't do much at all except charge more money for a shorter session. So yeah, the crowds are coming but be careful what you ask for!