Ice Follies on the Road

Another late one.  I need to rebuild my buffer.

Was traveling a bit last week, visiting a photographer friend down in Nashville. (The incomparable Oleg Volk.) While we were there we took the opportunity to visit one of the local (more or less) ice rinks:  Ford Ice Pavilion Bellevue.  The justification was for Oleg to get pictures of me and my daughter skating.  Unfortunately, he didn’t get any good pictures of my daughter (she had issues that day not directly related to skating) but there is this one:


THat’s e at the far left in black.  The scowl is my “concentrating face”.  I was actually having a good time.  Technically, my hands should have been up at shoulder level, gracefully extended to the sides, but as crowded as the rink was, I didn’t want to take up that much space.  My daughter is in the frame.  She’s the one at far right in the image, with the bleached tips in her hair and the pink laces on her hockey skates.

My daughter skates rings around me.  I take lessons.  She teaches (up to pre-free-skate at least).  Volunteer teaching since she’s only fifteen, but there’s talk of actually hiring her once she turns 16 later this year.

Instructors kind of trade around from class to class depending on who’s there both among the instructors and among the students.  As a result there was one session where my daughter was my instructor.  She’s good, both as a skater and as a teacher.

So, the visit to the Belleview rink was the 31st.  Today, I was back at the local rink and it, too was packed.  I heard someone mention “last hurrah before school starts again.” Whether true or not, it was crowded.

I try to push some limit whenever I get on the ice.  When possible that “limit” is whatever new (or newish) technique I’m learning.  But when the ice is as crowded as it was tonight and in Belleview that’s just not safe.  In that case I try to push endurance–conditioning.  I try to do that anyway even when I’m working techniques.  I’ll work new techniques when I’m still fresh, then spend the rest of available time skating to build my condition.

Now one thing that’s been particularly frustrating is that I continue to occasionally stumble while doing one foot glides.  I expect to stumble and even fall when I’m doing something new–backwards one foot glides, two-foot turns, crossovers (although those are coming along nicely)–but it’s frustrating when, for no apparent reason, I catch a toe pick and either have to take some running steps to recover or end up on hands and knees on the ice.  It’s not even the pushing foot that’s catching, but the gliding foot which means I’m getting my weight too far forward (or letting my foot lag behind center of gravity which is a different perspective for looking at the same thing).  More rarely, my issue will be off the back of the blade in which case I end up flat on my back.

Recently, I’ve taken to wearing elbow pads, well, strictly speaking they’re knee pads in size “M” but they fit snugly around my elbows so that’s what I use them for.  I have found that when I do fall, particularly backward, I have a really bad tendency to crack an elbow against the ice leading to a swollen lump that turns into a large purple bruise that takes several weeks to heal, something like this:


I’m hoping the habit of wearing elbow pads will prevent that in the future.  However, for the trip to Nashville, we were looking for pictures so I didn’t want to wear them.  Fortunately, aside from a couple of stumbles, only one of which took me to hands and knees, I didn’t have any problems.

But those continued stumbles are frustrating.  I’d really like to figure out how to get to a point where I’m not doing them any more.  Yeah, I know.  Top level competitive skaters still fall, but not generally when simply doing a one-foot glide.

One thought on “Ice Follies on the Road”

  1. I like your vest. A little more understated (less stated?) than the full top hat regalia from the last pictures. I’ve just started thinking about maybe wearing the occasional vest and bought one but that one is cool (I’m not at all goth for the record).

    Interesting looking at the picture of your daughter because she looks completely confident and relaxed. I wonder about the arms outstretched that you mentioned. Maybe it’s the difference between hockey and figure skating but I never skate with my arms outstretched.

    Finally, as a complete non-expert, I think you might need to bend your glide knee a bit more. In martial arts you never lean forward as it puts you off balance. The instructions I give to the kids who are bending forward is to bend that knee just a little bit more which helps force you back into an upright position. FWIW. The other possibility is to get rid of the toe picks and go to real skates. Best series of lines and scenes in The Cutting Edge: “toe pick”.


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