Monday, August 29, 2016

Lake Placid 2016 Adult Skate Week Review (with 2017 update)

So here's some Raves and Rants (a la' for the Lake Placid Adult Skate Week!

NOTE TO SKATERS: There were occasional checks of the name tags to make sure you were authorized to skate on the adult ice. You will need to have your LP Adult Skate Week nametag with you when you skate. Don't leave it in your hotel, car or locker.


The Ice: In previous years the adults had to time-share the ice with either hockey training, or synchro training. This year there was ice available almost all day on both the USA and 1980 rink. I think there was only a couple of hours a day that we didn't have ice available.

There were two full sheets of ice simultaneously available from M-F. One sheet was reserved for group lessons, the other was adult freestyle. The ice was resurfaced on an hourly basis and the quality of the ice was always great. On Saturday there was a single sheet for morning skate and the afternoon there was the Adult Show on the same sheet.

If you want good ice and lots of it, you'll find it here.

Coach Professionalism: There was one group lesson I attended where a coach had the wrong lesson time and showed late. Another coach waiting to start her lesson in a half hour took charge and quickly started a lesson on the same topic. It's too bad the first coach missed her time--it happens--but it's good the other coach saw the situation and took it in hand. I think this kind of step in and work the issue was uniform throughout the coaching staff for the entire week--except for one incident that roiled several skaters so much that one wanted to demand part of her money back (see below).

Schedule Changes: They now update the schedule by email. Thumbs up!

Facebook Presence: They have an active presence on Facebook for the Adults so you can always share pictures with family back home. You can spot me in a couple of pictures, I'm the skater looking respectful like I'm in church.

Reception Registration: All the paperwork, lanyard and t-shirt were all organized and ready to go, It took like 2 minutes to pick up everything and go. There were a number of coaches present and ready to work their schedules. It's a good opportunity to meet old friends and talk to coaches.

Facilities Issues: The janitorial staff was very responsive to facilities issues in the Ladies Dressing Room. I mention this because in 2014 there was a plumbing problem that was never attended to, so Bravo for moving forward on this issue! The janitorial staff was great and respectful of the skaters privacy when they needed to enter and clean or service the towels and toilet paper. Thanks!

Adult Skating Show:This was a lot of fun to watch. I'm not a performer so I did a lot of videos for people. You have to submit a form, don't dither or you won't be in the program. You don't need to come with fully prepared. There was one woman who decided on Wednesday to perform so she got some music cut and some choreography and  skated with only a few hours practice.  And you don't need a fancy costume. There's the skate shop across the street.

Figure Skating Shop: Across the street from the rink is a building with "Skaters Welcome" on the front. They have a nice selection of used children's and adult costumes, some second hand skates, and 'emergency skate supplies'! They had very reasonably priced Mondor knee-hi's in two weights, tights, gloves, Rockerz, soakers, laces, Zuca inserts, skating shirts, skating jewelry, and other skating essentials such as gel ankle tubes. Always worth going in and stocking up. The knee-hi's were much less than I was charged on Amazon!  I encourage supporting this shop as they make a real effort to support the Adult skaters during their week. And did I say the prices were reasonable? Really reasonable! 


I kind of drifted through the week enjoying my skating, so I interviewed other skaters to get Rants. There were only two things that really pissed me off.

In order of importance to the adult skaters.

The clock issue has been fixed! As of the 2017 June class the hockey clock is on!

The Unreadable Clock in the 1980 Rink: Okay, this is mine. I rate it as the #1 issue since it affected every skater on the ice, every hour, every day. Here's the deal, the clock is at the roofline, is the size of a clock behind the counter in a bar filled with motorcyclists and to top it off it was set for Mountain Time--three hours off. No one in the rink can read it unless they have a telescope. And even if it could be read from a distance, it was blocked from two thirds of the rink by a huge television screen.  People told me they were late for group lessons because they couldn't find the time.

I knew this about this issue and I was prepared to deal with it. I wear a watch on the ice. And skaters would come up to me and ask the time all the time because the CLOCK IS UNREADABLE!

I can read the clock.
If someone from the rink is reading this I'll calm down and explain. No one's worn watches in 15 years. And if they have a cell phone, they don't want to take it out of their pocket on the ice, because they might drop it. They need a clock. And now  it's not just small, it's blocked from view. 

Fortunately, the rink has a solution, it has a big hockey scoreboard in the center of the rink that is visible from everywhere. I've seen ice rinks in the middle of no where with only two skaters on public ice run the hockey clock. Why doesn't the LP rink? Are they cheap? Do they have a 'policy' that it doesn't run except during games? Is it a union issue? No idea. But apparently, they don't care if you can't tell the time.  

Since this has been going on for years, I don't think they're ever going to fix it. They can turn on the hockey clock or get a clock that's readable. But they haven't . Bring a cheap watch with you and wear it on the ice. Don't say I didn't warn you if you miss a lesson.


Kid Skaters Accessing the ADULT Ice:   I was informed that a coach brought her kid skaters on the adult ice to practice. Two adult skaters approached the coach and politely informed her this was Adult Ice and she shrugged it off. When the kids tried to get their music to play a staff coach helped them set set up their music rather than telling them to beat it. I know coaches have behind the scenes relationships so fixing this issue becomes the skating director's problem: NO KID SKATERS ON ADULT ICE--!! Kids didn't pay for it, and they disrupt the skating of the adults. One skater who told me about this incident said she spent half a lesson on her program swiveling her head to keep an eye on the kids because she was afraid they'd run into her.  She also said that if it had happened again she was going to demand her money back for that day's skate. This incident induced some real rage.
We come to Lake Placid skate on adult ice with adult skaters. If we have to share the ice with kids we might as well stay home.  So, I guess if you as a skater want to fix this issue, you have to complain mightily when it happens and ask for part of your money back.

Facilities: Multiple skaters complained about the condition of the Ladies Dressing Room. This is a problem that really belongs to the manager of the entire facility.
1. They may have to leave the heat on, but putting in a fan (one of those room fans, not a desk fan) to get the warm air circulating would reduce the overheating problem. Without a fan the place is just a sauna.
2. They need to fix the leaky toilet. Maybe there's mold under the matting. And is the concrete floor sealed against water?
3. Hey, a new coat of paint wouldn't hurt.
4. Skaters had particular contempt for the showers. And of the three sinks only two worked. They even turned off the hot water to the sinks. Is there hot water to the showers? I don't know because no one used them. 

If ORDA doesn't want to fix it they could always put up a big sign "1980 Women Skaters Olympic Dressing Room: Sit where Linda Fratianne (Silver) sat, because the stuff in here is that old". Yeah, some women were pretty snaky about it.  One woman recommended gutting it and completely redoing it, but I don't think that will ever happen. It's marginally above a dump but it is clean.  So props to the janitorial staff for their hard work.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression:
Forgive me, I'm  annoyed. And so was every skater I asked about this. The reception usually has some simple hors d'oeuvres and non-alcoholic drinks. This time they had some water crackers and dried up cheese. Not only was it dried up, even though my group arrived there the first thing, large chunks were already cut out. So, there was a distinct impression these were cheesy rejects from another party.  I love cheese and I tried to eat a piece on a water cracker, Reader, I did not swallow it. I didn't actually see anyone eat anything. I asked later if anyone found any drinks and no one had.

You think I'm petty? My fee paid for that.
Notes to Skaters:
1. If you are a male skater, make a note that you are Male on the Adult Show application, otherwise you may be referred to as 'she' in the printed program.

2.  If you want a lower level locker ask for one with an even number. 

3.  If you're not on Facebook, it's worth it just to join for the LP Adult Skate Week Posts.

4. Don't forget to bring a wrist watch. You'll kick yourself when you realize you really, really need it on the 1980 rink.  

Done until 2017!



Friday, August 26, 2016

I Have a Spread Eagle!

Yes, straight legs, from a moving position not a standstill, with an exit to a moving position, and a perfect upper body position. The whole 9 yards.

It was more Brian Boitano style...

Than Paul Wylie...

Never the less, got a spreadeagle the day before my 65th birthday!!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Making Lemonade on Ice

I fell three times over two days on the same spot on my back right hip.

Of course it wasn't the spot where I had a pad.

This had an unusual effect, one I didn't expect. I couldn't hold an inside edge unless I was balanced perfectly over my boot.

You know that 'popped hip' your coach tells you to fix, if I popped a hip just the tiniest bit it was like an ice pick in the hip. If I rotated my hip even a tiny bit--not even a pop--it was like a small pony kicked me in the ass.

I couldn't even stroke for my first hour of skating today.  Or spin. Or mohawk. Or three turn. Or hold an inside edge for more than 15 feet.

What could I do? So I did what I could.

I used the injury to improve my skating! It's amazing how fast you can train yourself to get and stay over your boot when a popped hip is a problem. I had to make a concession and not do any T push push because of the hip rotation.

I did figure 8s. Ouside figure 8s o start. And inside  8s (argh! the pain).

After some figures and  a decent warm up, I was was able to stroke, and three turn, and t-stop. Mohawks are still out, but the pain in the hip is  manageable for crossovers and cross rolls. (Very, very cautious cross-rolls.)

By skating around my injury, I didn't lose an entire day of skating: And I learned something about how not to pop my hip and how to not give up.

Oh, yeah, two Advil and caffeine helped too. All hail the Gods of Over The Counter Painkillers!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Great Moments in Recreational Figure Skating #1

When a Coach Who Doesn't Know You says,
"Show me your spin."

And You say, 
"Which direction?"

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Compulsory Figures Push Off--"The STRIKE!"

I love compulsory figures, sometimes called school figures, and I fiddle around with them all the  time.  The problem I've had is that I can't do the forward push-off (called the strike) with any power....until now.

So, I took a basic forwards figure 8 class. Outside forward 8 and inside forward 8. The coach who is a judge at the World Figure Championship taught an introductory lesson.

Now once I'm on an edge I'm...not awful...but my pushoff is a thing of horror. I pretty much have to take an introductory stroke, then do the pushoff into the figure, only then can I gather my legs and start my real glide.

NOT ANY MORE! I'm nailing that sucka!

Like previous coaches, this coach tells me to put my feet in a T-position. When you do this for figures your weight should be centered between the front and the back boot. In other words, one foot should not be carrying more weight than the other. You will also need to be in a strong position facing out of the circle. (Note, I had already developed that, but that's another story).


Now put the back foot very slightly on an inside edge. Then raise the toe of the front boot (which will become the active foot). To push off, you'll do a deep knee-bend with direct push from the back foot (which is slightly on an inside edge remember) into the front foot which is now conveniently on the exact right place on the blade  for maximum glide!

Nobody ever told me about raising the toe of my front boot before. The blade doesn't go off the ice at all, but  raising the toe of the boot 'rolls' you back on the back-mid to the back of the blade where the best glide of the skate is found.

It took me about half a dozen tries to get it where I could do a decent push-off without  flailing, and could gather my legs and feet into skating position within the first few feet. But it was so nice to finally be able to get some decent power out of a single push.

I'm not going to write about the part of the figure after the push, or we'd be here all night.

Of course, a half hour later I fell backwards trying to learn the push off into back 8s, so the day had its exciting moments too.

And here's the history of compulsory figures by floskate.

Monday, August 22, 2016

First Ice of the Day

When the last ice cut was at 11 pm after a 
hard fought hockey game and it's now 
6 am freestyle so the ice is crusted over like an iced cake
left out in the sun then frozen over and licked by a cat

 When the ice technician came in 15 minutes early to resurface the ice before 6 am freestyle on his own time because he wants 'his' ice to be good the whole day

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Flash! News Report! A Miracle has Happened!

No One's Knocked Me Down For a Week!



But For Now, Hooray! My Jinx Is Over!



Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Three Turn Checking--in My Dreams

I had a dream the other night about skating.

It's been decades since I had a dream about 'real life'  such as work or anything personal, though once in the 80's I had a vivid dream about calculus homework. (Note for those who care, my answer in the dream was wrong.)

Anyway last night I dreamt I was in a group lesson in a studio rink in a figures class. I did a FI3 and checked it beautifully.

I remember in the dream I thought, "Oh, this is so easy. Why didn't I learn this before? Oh, I must remember this when I wake up." There was this little trick with the shoulder...hhmmmm....which much like my calculus homework makes no sense when I'm awake.

Then ice zombies came on the ice and the class had to run to another rink. I ended up walking on concrete on my blades. So that was awful. I remember thinking, "I'm ruining my edges!"

I must stop watching Game Of Thrones
And I bet I won't be able to check when I skate either....3 turn checking--still a dream.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Kid Magnet...On Ice

So, I want to compare one tiny aspect of my skating on practice ice to the skating of Badass Skater. He's a much better skater than I am, has jumps and back threes, and rockers and counters, and he sharpens his own skates. I admire his skating, and his technique, blah-blah-blah. Nice guy, grandfather of two, and even gave me fuzzy soakers for my 65th birthday. He's one of those great adult skaters at my rink who treat me with kindness, don't skate into me, or tease me for my lousy skills.

So, the story begins...

I skate into a wide open empty space on practice ice and instantly I am surrounded by little kids skating DIRECTLY AT ME AS IF THE POWER (snort) OF MY SPINS SUCKS THEM TOWARDS Me.

 Then, in a moment when no one is aiming at me, I glance down the rink and see Badass Skater jumping into a small empty spot. MAGICALLY, the skaters in that area flow away as if he has some mystic power to clear the ice for his landing glide. They don't look his way, they don't notice him, the just...move away. He does a lovely glide, does a back three, and in his wake the skaters flow back into the space.

This does not happen to me.

I'm a target for kids. I'm always about to be squashed by tiny terrors.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Full Contact Figure Skating

During lesson last week, an older teenager--a tall male skater, bent over at the waist, skated hard as he could and head butted me in my back while I was skating backwards IN THE CENTER!  I heard my coach cry out, and glanced over my shoulder so I just had a glimpse of him heading towards me when he hit. Fortunately, I reflexively dug a toepick in and my coach put her hand to my shoulder in the split second warning we had.

I, my coach, and another adult skater got right in his face and started all chewing him out simultaneously. In that instant, I saw a faint realization on his face that he was in trouble and he was off the ice in about 2 minutes with his friends.

Then during practice ice later that week, I was knocked over twice in 10 minutes by two different little  kids who just skated right into me at max speed.

There are two things I want to comment on.
1.  When I fell, coaches skated over to me instantly asking me forcefully, "Did you hit your head!" then they'd glance at the kid and ask casually, "you okay?" Do I get the extra attention because:
 a. I'm the beloved adult recreational skater, or 
 b. They're afraid I'll snap like a twig.

2. Then when I tell the coaches I'm afraid I'll fall on the kids and squash them, the reaction is usually....  
Yeah, that's an interesting attitude to have. What's with that? 

Anyway, why me, oh Lord? Why am I the target of interest? Cause if you're testing me, Oh Lord, I want a panel of 6 USFS judges and a full sheet of ice all to my self. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

When I'm impressed by someone's ROH

It turns out our Silver Ice Dance/synchro skater sharpens his own blades, and a former National level coach at the rink gave him the thumbs up as a sharpener. This skater is the one who I referred to as 'the one who skates with sprezzatura.'

I sat down next to him in the lobby as we were booting up and asked, "So, now that you do your own sharpening, what's your radius of hollow?"

"13/16 ths." He replied.

 Say hello to our Badass Skater....cause Sprezzatura Guy takes too long to type!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Want Some Cheese with That Whine?

I threw a birthday bash at the rink for my 65th birthday, and invited my coach. This is the bag she put my gift in.

Wait, she trying to TELL me something?