Three skate tips for beginners

Posted on Feb 07, 2018 by The Forks Market


Here we are in the throes of Winnipeg winter. How are you holding up? Are you getting outside?

If you are getting outside, chances are it’s at the Winnipeg winter hotspot: The Red River Mutual Trail. It’s becoming the modern iconic Winnipeg winter experience! This year, it stretches from the St. Vital Bridge on the Red River to the Forks, and continues along the Assiniboine River past the Hugo Docks all the way to Arlington Ave. Thanks to super cold temps and not much snow - it's the longest its been in a really long time! It’s invigorating, relaxing and always so inspiring to see everybody out skating. If you’ve been on the trail, you know it’s an activity that truly brings all of Winnipeg together.

It’s our collective community backyard rink. And it’s a wonderful way to enjoy winter.

According to my scientific Instagram poll 31% of Winnipeggers have never skated before.

This blows my mind, it’s practically a life skill in Winnipeg!

So, non-skaters: I’m looking at you. I think it’s time you get out there! You can do this. It can seem a bit scary to try something new/try something you haven’t done in a while like skating but fear no more! I’ve put together my top three tips to give you the confidence to get out on that trail this year:

Step one: lace it up

One of the biggest complaints I hear from new skaters is that their feet hurt. This is because of poor ankle support and poorly fitting skates.

  1. Skates are generally one size smaller than your shoe size.

  2. Ankle support. Lace them up nice and tight at the top. It’s a hand workout.

  3. Relax your toes. Resist the urge to claw grip your toes in your skates. Just chill.

PS wool socks will keep your feet nice and toasty!

Step two: understanding balance

Skating is all about balance. The shifting of your weight from one side to the other.

  1. Take turns standing on one leg, alternating between the two legs

  2. Keep your knees slightly bent

  3. Core is always engaged, find your centre of balance!

  4. Shoulders are tall. Don’t lean forward.

  5. Look up! Don’t look at your feet.

Step three: edge + glide

Let’s talk about your skate blade and edges. There are two edges on a blade. The inside edge is the edge on the side with your big toe. Outside edge is the side with your baby toe. Make sense?

  1. Take your inside edge and slightly angle your left foot back

  2. Dig your inner edge into the ice to push off with your left foot and glide forward on your right leg with your knees slightly bent

  3. Position your right inner blade on an angle and push off repeating the same motion

  4. Alternate each leg, gliding along….LOOK, YOU’RE SKATING!

Next step: practice! Practice! Practice!

We get better every time. Want to learn how to stop? Come check out the free Learn to Skate lessons at The Forks every Tuesday evening at 7pm. Details here:

Lindsay Somers is a Lifestyle Health Coach. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter. All photography by @sierrasavannahf.

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