Friday, August 30, 2013

When Can You Interrupt Someone Else's Lesson?

1. There's an emergency. A real one, not a 'figure skating emergency'. A real emergency involves an ambulance, the police, and the possibility of lawyers.

Zombies would be an acceptable reason as well.

2. You need to pass a lesson payment to the Coach. This is done by skating up to the coach and handing over the payment.  YOU MAY NOT HANG AROUND AND TALK. You are expected to hand over the payment, and move on.
"Hi, here's your payment. Bye!"

As far as I know, there here are no other reasons: Not scheduling, not choreography, not test questions, not anything.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Things I Wish I Could Say: The Interrupted lesson

When someone comes up to talk to my coach when I'm in lesson. What I want to do:

Phase 1: The polite approach to getting them to leave

Phase 2:  The not so polite approach

Phase 3: The 'nobody crosses me twice' approach

(This picture is so wrong. Everyone knows the
Mitsubishi A6M had under fuselage
gun mounts.)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

2013 Lake Placid Skate Camp Review

Just back from my 4th or 5th Lake Placid summer. I am happy to report that this summer was very close to perfect. Good on ya, ORDA!

Ice schedule. Adult skaters were scheduled on two surfaces, the 1980 rink and the USA rink. All group classes were on the USA rink, and all freestyle sessions were on the 1980 rink. This was consistent throughout the week. The schedule differed day to day. Since the rink has a number of other events going on (synchro, hockey), adult skaters could find themselves with early ice one day and evening ice the next. The full schedule of ice time was delivered. Yes, there were people on ice as late as 8 pm and as early as 7am. Not the same people though.

Ice condition.  Resurfacing was conducted every two hours. Okay, in previous years it was every hour. But you lost a lot of time to ice resurfacing (although it's nice for a fresh surface every hour). Every two hours seems a good compromise.  The ice was still good enough in the second hour for high level skating.

Class and ice surface schedule. For the first time since I've attended Lake Placid, the skate camp maintained the skate camp schedule as published! The only changes were to add 3 evening group classes because Paul Wylie decided to stay a couple extra days. This was publicized by placing announcements on the dressing room doors two days before, so plenty of notice prominently posted. The skate camp also sent a preliminary schedule to all the skaters a few days before the camp.  I don't think they could get it out any earlier, as they had to schedule many coaches, compose and publish it.

Famous Coaches: Gregory and Petukhov, Paul Wylie, Ryan Bradley, and the Protopopovs were there for the skate camp. Wow! Just, Wow!  As a perpetual basic skills skater, I didn't take lessons from any of them, but I knew skaters who did and all raved about their coaching. I wanted to comment, that while she is famous as an ice  dancer, several skaters spoke very highly of Melissa Gregory as a jump coach.  Everybody loved Paul Wylie's coaching.

Unexpected pleasures: The ice rink has WIFI now! And the most gourmet snack bar outside of France!

Other skaters: I heard that there were 50 skaters at the camp. Since the June week camp, had been compressed into a weekend, a number of people transitioned from the June session to August, making the camp slightly better attended than last year. There were hardly any kid skaters since schools now start before Labor Day.

Off-Ice classes: These are designed for the kids, but adults are welcome. I wonder if an adult oriented off ice class would find an audience now that there are so few kids.

Minor Annoyances:
1. There was no clock in the 1980 rink. I don't know if the old one broke, but you could only keep track of the time if you wore a watch. I suggest  taking a cheap slap watch to the camp to wear over your jacket. I am assuming that the clock will be replaced by next year, but it's still important to have your own watch just in case in 2014, the clock in the USA rink is broken.

2. The time of the adult ice show was not published in the schedule. No kidding, people were asking me Friday what time the ice show was just because they knew I was in it.

3. There's probably a good logistical reason why the ice show is on Saturday, but a number of skaters always have to leave Saturday morning to go home. A more convenient time would be on Friday night, which would allow more participation.

4.  The schedule sometimes has several group classes with the same/similar titles, but different coaches. For example, there were 3 or 4 Stroking classes and two Skating with Style classes. It might be helpful to have a little better descriptor. Ice Dance Stroking or Stroking for Power, or whatever the coach is focusing on. Of course this suggestion might be impractical since the coach may decide on how to teach the class based on who shows up. And frankly, if two classes are titled "Skating with Style" once for Paul Wylie and the other for Ryan Bradley, a lot of people are going to take both.

Amusing Incident:
A skater of my acquaintance is a bit star struck by Ryan Bradley, and signed up for a lesson with The Tall One. The following was reported to me second hand. When my friend showed up for the lesson Ryan asked, "What did you want to work on?"
My friend replied, "I don't know."
Ryan said, "Well, I'm known for my jumps, why don't we work on that?"

Useless Trivia: Since we were sitting next to each other in the hockey box waiting for the ice to clear,  I asked Paul Wylie "Boots and blades?" Reidells for a couple of decades, and the John Wilson Revolution (based on the Gold Seal).  That's the kind of question I want to hear interviewers ask on TV.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Surgical Intervention on Figure Skating Boots

One day my feet were fine in my boots. The next day there was a little ache in the joint of my toe--as if a blister was forming. Twelve hours later, I was standing in a spin class and thought, "I'm going to have to crawl off the ice."

It was that fast. And that agonizing. My face went white from pain.

I got off the ice and took off my boots. Ah, the sweet, sweet coolness of the mats flooded through my feet and I limped to the dressing room. It was so bad, I couldn't even put on my regular shoes. I had to hang around the rink for a few hours, waiting for the swelling to go down.

Fortunately, I was able to get my boots to the emergency clinic, other wise know as "Figure Skating Ladies Dressing Room." A couple of hours later, "Dr." Amazing came in and conducted the surgery on my boots.

I slipped my feet in my unlaced boots, and she tapped my joints through the boots to find the areas of greatest pain. When the butt end of the knife she was using as a test hammer hit the right spot, I yelped, so it was easy to identify the problem. On the big toe side it was at the toe joint; On the little toe side, it was the joint of the little toe.  She marked these with the point of her knife, and I handed my boots over for surgery.

She cut directly through the boots--all the way through the outer leather, the plastic heat moldings, the inner leather, and the lining-- in an X shape directly over the point of pain

The Cut all the way through the boot.
Although you can't see it, these boots were
punched out THREE TIMES
I was able to skate in them that afternoon. I won't say 'without pain' because there was a LOT of inflammation in the joints, but the pain was reduced by 95%. By the next day (after anti-inflammatories and icing the joints) I was down to almost pain free.

The only time it hurts, is the second it takes me to slip my feet in the boots, when the top of the toe box pinches the joints. Once the feet are in the boots the X cut in the leather  spreads just enough for me to skate in comfort.

If you measure my boots, with the spread from the space needed by my joints my boots are almost an inch wider than before the 'surgery'.

It's a last ditch desperate measure, but it worked.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Miss Bianca wants me to learn lunges.

Yeah, the foot dragging element that requires an elderly lady to deeply bend one knee and rise up from the ice on the same knee.

Pffffttt! Easy when you're 6, hard when you're 60+.

Apparently, I'm supposed to practice stretches every night because "it's a cute little element".


So, obviously, I need a coach. I pick.....Jeremy Renner.

Ready, set, go!

Start with Support

'U so 'dorable.
(ooops, too old for that thought)
No Support!
How I look now!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Ice Packs for Injuries

I'm in the middle of a back spasm.

All hail ice packs.

I have a bottom freezer half full of them, left over from my injured knee recovery. Damn, those things are handy.

For injuries that don't involve actual spillage of blood, the first thing that first aid seems to recommend is 1. Stabilize, 2. Ice Packs.

Since I'm not in the medical profession I'll bypass 'stabilize' and move on to Ice Packs.

What I learned during my knee injury is that I'm supposed to ice my injured part no longer than 10-20 minutes. Take the ice pack off and wait a while (half hour to an hour) then repeat. Usually, I only use the pack for 10 minutes and don't have to repeat it. However, in the middle of a back spasm (too much overhead weight lifting) I'm using them for 20 minutes.

After 36-48 hours I've read to alternate the ice pack with heat. I prefer a hot shower, but heating pads or a hot water bottle work just as well.
Icing Phase
So for the last 36 hours I've done as recommended. Intermittent ice packs (not to exceed 20 minutes per session) along with rest, slow walking, and gentle stretching.  It worked and I'm close to pain free today.  I start alternating ice with heat this evening.

Warming Phase
If I can pass on some of my experience with ice packs, here they are:

1. I found the bendable ones from the drugstore made of cubical cells filled with blue liquid to leak.  I don't recommend those. These are sometimes called 'ice blankets'. Note, some brands contain propylene glycol and can raise a rash if they leak. If you go to the hunting section of Walmart or Target and find bendable ones with little square cells, check to make sure they contain water. Even if those don't leak they won't raise a rash or stain your clothes. The ones from the hunting section haven't leaked so far. They appear to be sturdier than the ones from the drugstore.

2. In the drugstore, the ones that I like are filled with a mixture of clay that makes them bendable even when frozen, and are pretty sturdy. Other than clay I don't know what's in them, but I've never had one leak. The ones I bought have a fabric bag to hold the ice pack, and a stretch belt. These can be worn while you're walking around.

3. I found some heavy duty square ice packs made for food storage. The small ones are okay to stick behind my back while I'm driving.

4. The ones that have little 'peas' inside them. Bought one. Used it once. Threw it away. Held the cold about 15 minutes.

So there's my little survival tips for injuries for when you need an ice pack.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Things I Wish I Could Say. 3 Wimpy Adults

I should carry Learn to Skate brochures with me for the number of times adults (and kids) have approached me in a public session while I'm lap skating or just tooling around in the center.

If they ask me for tips the most I'll say is "bend your knees." But then I say:

"The rink has a Learn to Skate program. It's very inexpensive."

And you know something, the adults invariably say some variation of this:

"Oh, I couldn't learn to skate."

What I want to say is:

Monday, August 5, 2013

Good Bye Adult 4. Hello Adult 6.

A week ago (probably) USFSA Adult Skating program had 4 levels.

As of Friday (2 Aug) it has 6!

Now for my Teeming Thousands Hundreds Tens, here is the NEW ADULT USFSA LTS PROGRAM (Thanks to Cush on skating for pointing this out.)

As far as I know, this has not been released to skating directors (it's not listed in the LTS manual or any of the newsletters).  You heard it here first! (Unless you're following the discussion on skatingforums)

The program looks like Basic 8 skills, with the jumps and spins removed but ice dance elements (swing rolls and chasse's) added.

Feel free to annoy your skating director with questions. If you get intel on its implementation, post it in the comments.

Skating Director: "What? I have to change our LTS program?
FOR ADULTS! Nooooooooooooo!"

PS. I'm sure this has been years in the planning, but I've found no one who knows anything about it. It looks like it may be an early release by the web master.

PPS. Hockey Learn To Play is changing to.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

My Christmas Program

Miss Bianca is determined that I do a Christmas program. Why she wants to torture a poor audience filled with parents and children, I have no Idea.

"What song?" I asked.

"Shimmy Like My Sister Kate."

The woman is clearly insane. I'm an exuberant older woman who's willing to go places of bad taste that is clearly inappropriate for an under 18 audience.

"I have no skills." I say, but I'm sure she intends to choreograph something. I can see it now.

I stroke in as fast as I can.

Start with a shimmy
A two foot spin

Some back skating

A little backend work.

Then I do some foot work
Some final shoulder work

And a nice ending
Well, old performer that I am, I know what it will take for this program to work. "So," I say to Miss Bianca, "Can I have a costume with Double L cups?"

Friday, August 2, 2013

Skating Costs

Yesterday I picked up my car from the shop and Charlie, the desk clerk said, "You dive  a lot? Cause most people only put 12 thousand miles a year on their car, and you put twenty-five."

Stupid figure skating addiction.

Eighteen dollars an hour for freestyle.

Twenty-five dollars a lesson.

USFSA membership.

$7 per public session.

Lake Placid....$275 for ice time..$50 for registration....$100 gas money....$350 for a place to stay.....$$$$$ for lessons.....$$$ tchotchkes.

The  fantasy that someday I can do this.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Mid-Day Public Skate

Public skate is for the public.  People who have skating skills need to be courteous and pleasant to the ice tourists. If it wasn't for them, public would end up being some hockey team's mid-day stick and puck.

But I still have feelings......hidden feelings...deeply suppressed.....I just wish the public wasn't there.

When I get on the ice, I feel like this:

 After 15 minutes

After 30 minutes

At 45 minutes

At 60 Minutes!

On the outside I'm like this the whole time:

Skate Nice, Y'all!