Friday, June 3, 2016

Learn to Skate USA -- replacing USFS Basic Skills *and* ISI weSkate (at some point)

First up with some hot gossip.

1. The Professional Skaters Association and the Ice Skating Institute will be merging.
2. ISI We Skate program will disappear eventually, merging with LTS USA (maybe in a couple of years)

What this means functionally, I don't know. ISI is a rink management program that has a skating side, not a skating program. Is PSA taking over the rink management side of ISI? Or is ISI just unloading its skating program and keeping its rink management program where it makes its money?

Anyway, what this means for the skater is that eventually, there will be only one learn to skate program.

So, this evening I joined LTS USA.

You pay your money, and you get  a notice that you will be receiving program materials in the mail, and direction to print our your registrations page and give to your rink when you sign up for LTS.

You can see all the program sheets and search for rinks without even registering so if you want to poke around you can do that from the splash page (scroll down until you see the words Skating Classes then poke around until you find what you're looking for). The only problem is with the rink search: they calculate the distance to the rinks using 'as the crow flies'. They don't take into account things like massive mountain ranges to drive around and rivers where you have to find a bridge to go over. They calculate it as if you just drive straight to the rink. My 'nearest rinks' are like 3 hour drives but this app says they're less than 30 miles. If you live in a city and don't have to go far to a rink, you should be okay.

Then after you register and print out your registration page, you get this:
I'm assuming there will be more stuff later. However, since 90% of the materials you're interested in are available without logging in, and you'll get a packet in the mail, the login seems to me made just to track your account. I've heard there will be a way to track your levels in the event you change rinks. I will say that they have the absolutely best contact page I have ever seen. I'm telling you the truth. If you have a problem once you've registered, you can find a person to fix it.

Now for something that burns my hide.

Adult LTS still lives.

ISI doesn't have adult LTS. I hope when ISI weSkate merges with LTS USA that they convince them to kill  the separate (dance focused) Adult LTS program when the kids program will do for both.

I'm not emotional about this at all


  1. So I'm looking at this program and while it's all well and good, I have to admit I'm struggling with the 'why.' It just feels redundant. If someone wants to figure skate, why not have it all happen under U.S. Figure Skating. Hockey under USA Hockey. Speedskating with the speedskating folks. Anyone who ends up skating 'seriously' (at whatever level) will end up associating with one of those organizations anyway. I'm just not sure the collaboration in its current form really provides additional value. And if I were a coach, I would want my trade association spending more time addressing my professional needs, not necessarily creating programs for my clientele.

    Hopefully this program was created after market research demonstrated a need, but I'm just enough of a cynic to feel like this is just two organizations desperately trying to remain relevant in a sport that perhaps is evolving differently than anticipated.

    Oh man! I hate it when I'm cynical!

    1. It's actually 5 organizations: USFS, Hockey USA, Speedskating USA, ISI, and PSA are all involved in this to some degree. I think this may be a move to reduce costs and duplication.
      I believe ISI/PSA will continue to have its own competition system as opposed to giving up entirely.

  2. I use ISI as a dress rehearsal before testing in front of USFS judges. At this stage of the game they can move the deck chairs all they want. After all that's what admin types do to "create growth" and justify their existence. The only possible effect on me will be that if I live long enough, all my ISI badges will be "collectable" on flea-bay!