Beginner Ice Skating FAQ
This FAQ is geared toward ice skating novices.
We hope it helps those of you who may be hesitant to get safely into the rink this winter.
Is ice skating hard to learn?
Ice skating is the act of gliding on two thin blades over ice.
You have to be able to balance on those blades and ice is always slippery.
So, yes, ice skating can be a bit difficult for beginners.
The basic movements themselves, however, are not complicated.
It’s just a matter of getting used to the feel of balancing on the blades, much like riding a bicycle.
What should I wear to ice skate?
When dressing to ice skate, the main thing to keep in mind is that you will start out cold, but warm up quickly.
So, it’s best to dress in layers.
We recommend the following clothing for your first time ice skating:
- Long, flexible pants (with a waterproof outer layer)
- Thin base layer shirt
- Warmer mid-layer shirt
- Jacket or coat
- Thin (non-cotton) socks
- Coat or jacket
- Helmet or hat
A waterproof outer layer can be beneficial when you’re new to skating, because you can expect to take at least a few spills.
(Sorry. We know that’s not encouraging, but ice skating does take some practice.)
That’s another thing to keep in mind as you dress. Layers can provide padding for when you inevitably hit the ice.
Layers also make it easy to adjust your body temperature as you skate. If you get too warm, you can simply remove one layer at a time.
And we highly recommend a helmet for ice skating, but especially if you are new to the ice.
What should I bring ice skating?
Water, in an insulated bottle that prevents it from freezing.
If you have weak ankles (or have had an ankle injury), you can also benefit quite a bit from ankle supports.
Just make sure supports are thin enough to fit easily inside your skates. (A tight fit can lead to blisters.)
(Or, better yet, do some ankle-strengthening exercises before you attempt to ice skate.)
Is ice skating expensive?
It depends on where you go to skate, but ice skating is generally an affordable pastime.
Rink admission at many permanent skating rinks includes skate rental, sometimes for as low as $10 or $15 (though you do get limited time on the ice).
If you bring your own skates, some rinks will give you slightly reduced admission.
And, if you plan to do a lot of skating (once a week or more), an annual pass is almost always a good deal.
Is ice skating dangerous?
The biggest risk in ice skating is falls and ice is a very hard surface to fall on.
So, if you are new to ice skating, you are almost definitely going to end up with a few bumps and bruises along the way.
The good news is, when you fall ice skating, you don’t fall far, so, unless you’re practicing jumps or racing, most ice skating injuries are minor.
Still, you can help protect yourself by wearing protective equipment (a helmet and knee and elbow pads) and learning to fall properly on the ice.
When can kids ice skate?
Many beginner classes at ice rinks accept children as young as three years old.
But slightly older kids are better able to grasp the techniques used in ice skating and to handle falls.
So, we think the best age to start kids ice skating is five or six.