Thursday, December 4, 2008

Top 10 tips for first time ice skaters - part 1

It's that time of the year when the short days make you feel like you are working overtime everyday, when cars' tires can barely cling on to the road and when millions of innocent turkeys are sacrificed to mark an otherwise joyous occasions. That means only thing… winter is here and Christmas is near.

Tower-of-London-ice-skating















What's Christmas without the cold temperature? Of course, while our Australian and New Zealander friends are celebrating Christmas over barbecue, Londoners are decked out in the warmest clothing they can find and hitting the ice skating rinks that that sprung up across London.

Ice skating does not coming naturally to me (to put it mildly) and I had quite an experience the last time round when I tried it for the first time last year in Kew Gardens. Enjoyed myself quite a bit despite having a couple of nasty falls. More importantly, I picked up some useful tips along the way and here's the top 10 tips for first time ice skaters.
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Read also...
Ice skating in Kew Gardens - a first timer's experience

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1. Book tickets in advance

For the first time skaters, ice skating is unlikely to be the spur-of-the-moment type of activity. I guess you would need to prep yourself up with hitting the ice and the last thing you want is to find out that tickets are sold out for a particular time slot (or even the day) when you are there.

There's no need to book way in advance as London's weather is fairly unpredictable if you have not found out by now. Check the weather forecast for 2-3 days in advance and be there in person to make your booking. Try not to collect the tickets only on that day itself as you wouldn't want to be stuck in a queue such that you'll miss your allocated time slot.

2. Go during off peak

Face it. The one worse thing that can happen to you when you fall flat on your bum is to have a crowd around to witness it. More practically, there is more space to maneuver and less chances of you bumping into anyone. Most importantly, there are no kids around (see point 7) and it's cheaper as well.

Off peak periods include mid morning (10am - 11am) and mid afternoon (2pm - 5pm). Lunchtime is a no-no. Some of those bankers who has huge cashloads to spend on private ice skating lessons would be there to strut their stuff. Go during peak periods only when you are skate circles around them.

3. Get skates that fit

You will be given some time to fit your skating shoes in the changing area. Don't let anyone pressure you into accepting a pair of skates that doesn't fit snugly. This is tricky - too loose and you might sprain an ankle when you fall, too tight and the experience wouldn't be too good as your feet will swell up a bit after 15min on the ice.

Go into the changing area at least 20min before and get a pair of skate that fits.

Look out for the remaining tips for the first time ice skaters in the next post! Meanwhile, please share any tips that you might have. Cheers!

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12 comments:

Dutchie said...

That pix looks like man-made ice ?

When the canals, ponds n lakes freezes here, it's also extremely cold. I'm sure u hv seen men skating the 11-cities-event in North NL ? After skating non-stop for more than 10hrs, they arrived at the capital town, their face caked with ice ! Those northeners r very proud of their winter event, tho the last decade or so, it didnt freezed to the right thickness n they r thinking of scraping this tradition.

Man-made ice r provided in most sports club (by spraying a layer of water overnite onto the tracks). There is also a small skating ring in the middle of Amsterdam's shopping district, with stalls around selling warm chocolate drinks, soeps n snacks !

Dutchie said...

typo : soeps = soups

C K said...

@Dutchie,
For a moment, I thought that it was a Amsterdam delicacy! :)

(Un)fortunately, it's not cold enough in London to have lakes frozen over for ice skating so all the ice skating rinks that we have over here are man-made. It's basically a flooring with refrigeration system underneath. Viola! You have your ice!

For the same reason, if you try spraying water on the roads here, you just get many pissed off people.

Non-stop for 10 hrs? That's like a marathon that doesn't end! Gosh. Will you be going to any Christmas markets this year?

EastCoastLife said...

How lovely to have ice-skating rink in the open! For free?

C K said...

@ECL,
How I wish! It cost between £7.50 to over £12 for a 45min session. £1 extra to rent the skates, again depends on which rink you go to.

shortapps said...

Maaaan... I still remember my first skating experience when I was like 7-8 years old.. All I can say is that the fence was my only and best friend then because I couldn't left my arms off of it.. And when I did... My butt got red :D ... So very pleasant memories for that event.. From that time I went to ice skating a few times and every time i reminded myself at that boy from the beginning of this comment.. Lost of fun there :D

Dutchie said...

Christmas market ? Havent hv the mood yet, esp these days with snow n then slush. Prefer to hv a close encounter with the central heating - haha ! I hv my menu mapped out n the bird is in the freezer, so I'm all set. Decorations going up on the 6th, after St Nick leaves for Spain (so goes the story). Perhaps there's a little energy left for our local festive market .. which reminds me .. a month from Xmas, we hv to start planning for CNY - oh man !

So u n Mrs W going to Dusseldorf or those in the UK ?

RobRoy said...

I'm On My Way!!!

Organic Grog

kyh said...

I'd love to try it since we have ice skating rings here. Must be a good experience huh. Hopefully I won't land on the floor with my bum and embarrass myself in a crowd of ice skaters. :P

Martin in Bulgaria said...

Looks and is fun - I did a bit of Arse Skating in London when I was younger, I couldn't skate! lol

AVCR8TEUR said...

Those Olympic skaters look so graceful. I tried ice skating as a kid and I was one of those that stuck close to the railings. Haven't ice skated in decades, I don't even venture in the rink anymore for fear of breaking bones. :D

Nomadic Matt said...

that's only 3 tips!!!