Text & Drawings by Cristina Fernandez (Women4Adventure Ski Expert)
Ice skating can be one of the most enjoyable winter activities out there. It’s a great workout and often connects you to the magic of the icy outdoors. However, it’s vital to prevent serious injuries by following a few simple safety tips.
After 9 years of helping many beginners to learn how to ice skate, I’ve found it very rewarding to see countless people learn to balance and enjoy skating without the need to hold onto the sidebar. Here are a few simple guidelines to help you along…
Tighten your Boots
One of the most common mistakes newbies make is to wear skates that are too loose. Skates need to be tightly fitted and buckled up properly. If the boot, especially around your ankle area, is loose, it’ll be very hard to maintain control. The best way to check that your boots are tight enough is to stand up straight and check that the blades of the ice skates don’t slide sideways. If they do, tighten the boot. You should be able to walk easily on the carpeted area towards the ice rink. I always advise newbies to wear a helmet, otherwise at least a hat and gloves.
Keep your Balance
To stay balanced, put your weight on the ball of your foot and keep your knees a little bit bent. If you stand with your legs completely straight, you may very well fall backwards. A good way to start out is to keep your arms and hands stretched out in front of you and to remember to bend those knees!
Fall Down & Learn to Stand Up
One of the first things I ask newbies to do is to fall! You should get onto the rink and fall onto the ice as soon as possible. In this way, you’ll learn how to stand up from a fall. Best is to get onto your knees first, and then with one leg at a time, stand up. If you try to hold onto the bar or worse, onto someone else, you can easily make the other person fall or hit the bar.
March to the Rhythm!
When you’re ready to start skating, the first step is to imagine yourself MARCHING! I know, this is not what you expected, but trust me, I have seen hundreds of people try this trick and it works like MAGIC! Try to march on your first lap around the rink – this will teach you how to balance and separate your feet from the ice on each step. Once you feel comfortable with this motion, try to walk like a PENGUIN with your toes pointing outward, and make sure you can see your hands in front of you.
Once you start to feel a bit more confident, take bigger penguin steps and feel your way into a gentle glide. With a bit of practice you’ll quickly get hooked and, with a lot of dedication and practice, you may even master a few fun tricks before you know it.
About the Author: Cristina Fernandez del Valle is originally from Mexico. She spent her last 20 winters skiing and snowboarding and she’s also worked at ski and snowboard schools in America. She is married to a South African and now spends most of her time along the South African coast. Twitter & Instagram: cristinafva.