What is Ice Skating?
As inferred by the name of the activity, ice skating takes place on an ice playing surface. Ice skating is the recreation and sport of gliding around an ice surface on blades attached to the bottom of a shoe-life skate product. Ice skating rinks are often found to be both indoors and outdoors. It’s a fun way to spend a day with friends and family. Ice skating is also the key component of sports such as ice hockey, speed skating, and figure skating as well.
Ice skating was established in early 1000 BCE in Scandinavia. Initially, the first skates were made from a variety of animals, such as shank and rib bones of oxen and deer. However, as time progressed, the metal runner was introduced by the Dutch. In 1950 in the United States, the steel blade attaching to the bottom of the skate itself was invented. The transformation of ice skating from a seasonal pastime to a popular sport and form of entertainment occurred when refrigerated ice rinks were constructed in London (1876) and at Madison Square Garden (1879).
As mentioned before, ice skating is considered to be its own type of recreation but also plays a key role in sports like ice hockey. Ice skating as a form of recreation and entertainment, however, has no structured rules or gameplay. Skaters must always be safe and keep their head up while gliding around the ice surface because the rink can sometimes be busy with families and friend groups.
Positions and Roles
Rink Manager: The rink manager will be responsible for determining the days and hours in which the ice rink will be open. The rink manager must also hire zamboni drivers (those who drive the zamboni around the rink to clean the ice surface), rink guards, and various individuals who will be required to maintain the snack bar or pro shop (sells skates and equipment) within the ice arena.
Program Director: The program director is often second in command to the rink manager. The program director’s job is to determine when skating lessons and/or when various events or programs will occur. The program director is allowed to set certain restrictions on who/how many individuals take the ice at once.
Skater: The skater is the common person who decides to go ice skating for the day. Skating is a fun winter activity because of the cold weather.
On-Ice Rink Guard: The on-ice rink guard very well might have the most vital job on the ice-rink. The rink guards (who can be adults or experienced ice-skaters) are paid to skate around the rink and to ensure that every skater’s safety is maintained. If something goes wrong the rink guard must be there to save the day and to call for help.
Rules and Regulations
There’s no real rules or regulations to ice skating. However, like any sport or recreational activity that one takes part in; it is always important that one stays safe and be aware of the rules and their surroundings.
Lingo and Terminology
- Axel: A figure skating jump in which a takeoff occurs on a skater’s outside edge (outside part of the blade), and then the skater lands on the back part of their outside edge on the other foot
- Bunny Hop: Glide forward on one foot while swinging the free leg (non-gliding foot) forward, and then a skater lands on the toe of the leg that was swinging
- Crossover: A skater crosses the outside skate over the inside skate while turning a corner on the ice surface
- Freestyle: Jumps, spins, turns, and steps. A time in which an experienced skater can showcase their skills, while another individual can practice these skills. A freestyle is basically a free skate, and there are no restrictions on as to who can take the ice surface
- Shoot-the-Duck: Glide forward on both feet, and then bend both knees and squat into a sitting position (as if one is sitting in a chair)
- Spiral: Similar to ballet. A skater glides on one foot down the ice surface while stretching their free leg back behind their body
- Swizzles and Tizzles: Swizzles and Tizzlers help a skater master their edgework when it comes to turns and stops. Swizzles help a skater with their outside edges, while Tizzles help a skater with their inside edges
Ice Skating Coaching
A coach must have a great deal of knowledge on ice skating. More importantly, however, a coach must know how to treat and respect their own skaters. The great ice skating coaches know what it takes to help their skater’s reach the next level. These coaches must also know The 4 coaches below are a few of the premier ice skating coaches:
- Ron Ludington: USA
- Don Laws: USA
- Tatiana Tarasova: Russia
- Priscilla Hill: USA
The great thing about ice skating is the fact that professionals and children work on the same drills while practicing. There are hundreds of drills that each help a skater or duo can practice. Common drills include different variations of how to efficiently stop, spin, or jump. Other drills often include how an individual or duo will pull off a certain routine.
Olympic Ice Skating
Because it includes speed skating, figure skating, and ice hockey, ice skating is arguably the most prominent activity that occurs throughout the Winter Olympic Games. Professional skaters and players from all over the world travel to one country to compete for gold.
Ice Skating youth organizations exist in order for skaters of any level to have the chance to train and improve their skating techniques and skills with professionals. A few highly regarded youth organizations and locations in the tri-state area to learn how to skate are below:
- Sky Rink At Chelsea Piers: NY, NY
- Abe Stark Ice Arena: Brooklyn, NY
- World Ice Arena: Queens, NY
- Hackensack Ice Arena: Hackensack, NJ
- Aviator Sports: Brooklyn, NY
- Dix Hills Ice Rink: Dix Hills, LI
- Michelle Kwan: 2-time Olympic medalist, 5-time World champion, 9-time U.S. champion
- Tara Lipinski: Olympic champion, World champion, 2-time Champion Series Final champion, U.S. National champion
- Bradie Tennell: Olympic team event bronze medalist, 4 Continents bronze medalist, CS Autumn Classic champion, CS Golden Spin of Zagreb champion, U.S National champion
- Mirai Nigasu: 3-time Four Continents medalist, JGP Final champion, 2-time World Junior medalist, 7-time U.S. national medalist
- Nathan Chen: 3-time 4 Continents medalist, JGP Final champion, 2-time World Junior medalist, 7-time U.S. national medalist
- Jason Brown: 7-time medalist on the Grand Prix circuit, U.S. National champion, 2-time 4 Continents medalist, 2-time World Junior medalist, JGP Final champion, National Junior champion
- Johnny Weir: World bronze medalist, 2-time Grand Prix Final bronze medalist, World Junior Champion, 3-time U.S. National champion
- Adam Rippon: 4 Continents Championships, U.S. National Championships, 2 World Junior Championships, JGP Final champion, U.S Junior National title
Events and Tournaments
From the Olympics to World Championships, there are numerous ice skating events each year which showcase the most-talented skaters worldwide. Each skater has the chance to display their talent in front of large crowds and have an opportunity to win world/national championships.
- World Figure Skating Championships
- Cs Autumn Classic
- World Junior Figure Skating Championships
- Junior Grand Prix Finals
- Four Continents Skating Championships
- Ice Dance Challenges
Ice Skating Books
Ice skating books are often fiction, nonfiction, or novels on how to train made for skaters to help them improve their craft. Some of the stories are based on real-life events. Other books are made up of stories meant to be fun and enjoyable for a reader. Some of the more popular hockey books include:
- Mind Gym: An Athlete’s Guide to Inner Excellence: Gary Mack
- Beautiful on the Outside: Adam Rippon
- Conditioning for Figure Skating: Carl Poe
- Zero Regrets: Apolo Ohno
- Always Skating Forward: Joanne Jamrosz
What is Ice Skating?
Ice skating is a recreational activity that almost any individual can take part in both outdoors and indoors. One must know how to ice skate to be involved and compete in a sport like ice hockey, figure skating, or speed skating.
Is ice skating hard?
Learning how to ice skate is a process. However, with the proper training and hard work, an individual will be able to improve and keep mastering new skills.
How much is it to ice skate?
A pair of ice skates ranges anywhere from $100 to $1000 depending on the brand and on if one is a beginner or professional. However, if an individual simply wants to go ice skating for fun, the cost of renting a pair of skates and taking the ice for however long they wish can range from $10 to $20.