Monday, March 27, 2017

Blade Snow--Mystery Solved

When you get off the ice after you skate, most people find their blades wet, and they wipe them dry with a blade rag before putting their boots away.

I don't find my blades wet, I find them covered in 'rink snow' from the cutting edge to the top of the blade. I've never seen this on anyone else's skates

What's 'rink snow'? It's the shaved ice that skating blades create as everyone glides across the ice. You know how the more people that skate, and the longer they skate, it's harder to get a good glide? That's due to 'rink snow'.

My snow coverage is much much heavier
Unlike everyone else I skate with, I get a half inch thick of snow over my blades. Not only is it thick and heavy, it interferes with my 3 turns and spins. If I turn with just the wrong angle on the blade to the ice, the back of the blade drags across the ice and chops the turn or the spin. To 'chop' the turn is my term to indicate the snow blocks the turn and I come to an abrupt halt. It can be a  scary abrupt halt, that if I wasn't careful could could drop me on my ass.

A coach told me that I needed to wipe my blades while I was skating to clear the snow build up. It makes a significant difference in my glide, spins and turns. But the question what Why? Why did my blades get so gunked up, and no one else's?

It is a mystery! Let's examine it closer.
It took me a few times on the ice to figure it out. What was it that I did that no one else did? What was it that could build up snow?

Then I finally got serious about it and checked my blades for snow after each warm up element.  Slalom.Nada. Swizzles.Nada...then...

When I did my alternating T-stops in warm up (about 10 times on each foot) my blades gunked up like they were covered with mud.  Hooray! Positive finding! I wiped the snow off my blades and it was much easier to skate!

Did it solved my 'chopped' turns and spins?  I can say that those don't get chopped as often and when they do, I wipe my blades just in case. It's not perfection, but it's a great improvement.

So is it worth it to wipe your blades in mid-practice? It certainly helps me. So it may be worth a try for you.

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