I’ve always liked skating.
My grade school on occasion had excursions where snowpants- and helmet-clad kids would wobble around the ice (with their parents, if the parents could get away from work) for an hour, then gleefully tramp off and demand hot chocolate once the undressing was finished.
I remember disliking those sessions because the times when my dad couldn’t make it out with me, I was stuck with an inability to get my skates laced up tight enough. Despite the fact that those skates had huge wing-type protrusions for the laces to facilitate matters, my small hands just could manage the intricate art of skate tying.
That wasn’t usually much of a problem though. Some helpful parent or other would inevitably see me, cheerfully do up my skates (too tight) and send me off onto the rink for an hour of blissful circles. The real issue came after that, when I had a long ten minutes of trying to undo the knot they’d tied (too tight), resulting in cramped fingers and sweaty-sock-frozen toes.
So why do I like skating? The effortless gliding made all of the smelly locker-room time and the knot-tying frustration worthwhile. I mean, be honest: who doesn’t love skating? It’s graceful, almost like flying, most certainly one of the most highly anticipated “perks” of Winter.
The whole skating scene also improved immensely for me when I moved up here, where every year the townsfolk glory in being able to skate along the canal — 5 or 6km of unfettered, unsmelly, outdoor freedom — complete with hot drinks and snacks to boot.
(With that said, I will shamelessly admit at this point that I still regularly ask The Boy to do up my skates for me. It appears that my hands are still sufficiently girly and delicate that I can’t pull the laces tight enough. That’s my story anyway.)
So today, since it’s a little early yet for safe outdoor skating, we kicked off the season by heading to an indoor arena. Not just any arena though — we decided to go big:
My first impression when we got to the edge was how the ice seemed so much smaller than it looks from the stands — everything seems so much closer than it does from the seats.
After that, The Boy and I pretty much just enjoyed whooshing around for awhile, although it was a little crowded with enthusiastic young skaters of varying levels of experience.
My workplace holds a family skating day at SBP every year, and this was the first year we actually managed to go. The Boy claims it’s the second best ice he’s ever skated on, but given that I usually only skate 4-5 times a year anyway, I thought it was fantastic. (So hard! So much less rutted and bumpy than the canal!)
The other activities seemed geared more towards the aforementioned smaller children (arts and crafts, pictures with Santa), although there was face painting. (The Boy and I disagree about what age group that activity targets.)
In past years, there have been locker room tours, but those were off-limits to us today. Still, we got to see an interesting side of the arena not usually open to the public.
I considered stealing Sparty’s mini-zamboni, but the security folk looked rather stern. I settled for tasty hot chocolate instead.
Definitely a great way to start off the year’s skating season — let’s hope it’s an omen for a great winter of good ice!