I cannot imagine a winter where I don’t go ice skating at least once. Growing up as a competitive figure skater, it was a huge part of my life as I dedicated all of my time toward training. For others, it’s a fun holiday experience and I completely agree! Whether you’re heading to the iconic Wollman Rink in New York City (my favorite place to skate there during winter) or to your local rink, I have some expert advice for the perfect ice skating outfit (being cold and blisters are no fun!) and how to not fall when you’re skating! I’ll admit, I only stripped to this crop top for photos because the lighting was perfect. It was a pretty chilly day in New York City so layering is key!
What To Wear
Dress warm and in layers! Depending on whether you’re going to an outdoor rink or one inside, you need to decide which final layer is best. If you’re going to be at an outdoor rink, you will without a doubt need a parka or warm winter coat of some sort. Below, you’ll see how I layered my favorite parka over my outfit, which acted as a barrier against the brisk New York City air. You want clothes that are warm and breathable. I recommend wool or cashmere and preferably something that’s slightly stretchy.
The Stretchier, the Better
You’ll be moving around a lot (even if you’re a beginner and think you won’t) so you want a full range of motion. Trust me, the last thing you want is to slip off your heel, start falling and rip your pants or your sweater. As someone who has spent more than 13 years in an ice rink, I’ve seen it all. If you can wear athletic clothing, I would recommend it! You won’t regret it.
The Importance of Socks
Expert advice: bring thin wool socks. Thick, chunky cotton socks will give you blisters. I can almost guarantee it. When I was a figure skater, I would wear spandex tights underneath my leggings and that’s what went into my boots. You want to be “one with the skate” so the thinner the better. Trust me, I also understand you want to be warm. That’s why I recommend thin wool socks. A friend of mine recently started wearing these and they are truly incredible! I can’t believe these didn’t exist before.
How Not To Fall
I spent a little bit of time teaching Learn-to-Skate classes so I can offer you a few pieces expert advice on how not to fall! However, I do want to say, there is nothing wrong with falling! Olympic figure skaters fall every single day they practice! I would fall all the time. Falling is part of learning. However, you do want to fall properly and prevent yourself from getting hurt.
Starts with your Skates
Tie your skates up TIGHT. Remember, how your feet fit in your regular shoes will not be how they are supposed to fit in figure skates. I see a ton of people falling and tripping on the ice and it’s because their skates are not properly tied or fitted. You want a snug fit, but should still be able to wiggle your toes inside.
Next, tie those skates up tight! Pull hard and make sure everything is secure. When you get to the top part of your skates, make sure your criss-cross the laces and tie into a secure knot and bow. If there is excess, wrap it around the skate before you tie your knot. It will not be fun tripping on these! After tying your skates, walk around a little bit. Do you feel secure? Does anything feel off? Don’t be afraid to ask for another pair of skates if something feels super weird. Make sure you’re comfortable walking around in your skates before getting on the ice. Once you’re nice and secure, you’re ready for the next step!
Take It Slow!
It can be easy to let your date or friends pressure you into moving at a fast pace, but don’t! Step onto the ice slow and grab onto the boards if you feel like you need to. Keep your knees bent for extra stability. This next part will be hard, but do not look down! Keep your arms up like they are airplane wings and use them for balance. Figure skaters have incredibly strong core muscles (it’s why I always have abs) because we rely on them to keep us up straight. Don’t rush into skating on one foot, either. You’ll find you will have one dominant foot you prefer gliding on. That’s fine! Focus on pushing one foot at a time and gliding. Once you feel comfortable, start using both feet.
How Not To Fall
Remember what I said about keeping your knees bent for extra stability? If you feel like you’re going to fall, bend your knees and put your hands on your knees. It may sound crazy, but this brings you back to your center of gravity! You usually fall when something is out of control, say your arms are flailing around and pull you off your center. By bringing your hands to your knees, you come back to your most secure position.
NOW GO HAVE FUN!