We know you have a lot of questions about skating so we have answered the most common ones here. You might also want to look at a flyer with answers to common questions that U.S. Figure Skating put together, click here to download it. If we haven't answered your questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.
What is a good age to start skating lessons?
Any age is fine. We recommend that children start no earlier than three years of age. If your child is younger, we recommend doing a trial class during the second week of a Learn to Skate session. Contact us and we can set that up.
I've signed up, now what?
After turning in the registration form and payment, all you have to do is show up 30 minutes before class starts on the first day. We recommend that you register in advance if you need our free loaner skates. Please remember to mark the size and type of skate (hockey or figure) on your registration form. To find out more about what to expect your first day, click here.
What do I wear?
Dress warmly and in clothing that allows freedom of movement, stretch pants, turtlenecks, and fleece sweatshirts are popular. Do not forget to wear mittens or gloves! Remember that we recommend that all skaters aged six and under wear a helmet. A bicycle helmet works just fine.
How should my skates fit?
It is important for your skates to fit properly. Take time to find a pair with adequate support and a comfortable fit. Also, practice walking in your skates before taking the ice. When fitting your skates, make sure your feet, and especially the heel, do not move around inside the boots once they are laced properly. The boots should feel snug but not pinch your toes. A close fit gives you more control and support. In addition, your feet will feel best if you wear one pair of lightweight socks or tights that fit smoothly and do not create uncomfortable "bumps" inside your boots. Keep trying on skates until you find a pair that fits. Finally, be aware that your skate size is not always the same as your shoe size.
Is there a proper way to lace my skates?
Yes, there is. To properly lace them, tap your heel as far back into the boot as possible. Pull the tongue up, and secure it straight before tucking it beside your foot. Starting with the second or third set of laces from the bottom, pull tightly, one pair at a time, so the boot closes well over the front of your foot. It is important that the laces are snug through the ankle and bottom two sets of hooks. The top two can be looser to allow some flexibitility. Cross the extra lace neatly over the hooks; do not wind it around the skates. Loose-flying bows can cause accidents. Effectively laced skates should provide enough room, with ankles flexed, to stick a finger between the back of the boot and your leg.
When is the right time to buy my own equipment?
Once you are committed to skating, you may want to invest in your own skates. Purchase skates from a pro shop that deals professionally with boots and blades and that will work with you to find a good fit. We recommend The Skaters Edge (174 Plaza Dr., Williamsville, 716-636-3000). Used skates will work, too, especially when you are starting out. If you buy used, check the boot's suport level (boots can break down) and the blade for remaining "sharpening life." The Skating Club of Western New York hosts occasional used clothing and equipment sales -- www.skatingclubofwesternnewyork.org.
How do I take care of my skates?
Never walk on hard surfaces or concrete with uncovered blades. Wear hard guards when walking off the ice to protect them. Always dry off your blades with a towel before storing them in your bag. Wet blades may rust, and rusted blades will not glide well. Sharp blades grab the ice better than dull ones, especially when stopping. The Skaters Edge in Williamsville also sharpens skates.
Can I skate with my child?
We do not allow parents to skate with their child during the 30 minutes of instruction, but you can skate with your child during the 15 minutes of practice time. Click here to find out more about this program.
Or how about signing up for an adult class during your child's class or you can practice together during the practice time! Our registration desk has all the forms for both of these options.
After my child completes Learn to Skate, what other options are there?
Skate Great offers a variety of skating programs year round. For the aspiring hockey player, we offer a very popular Powerskating Program, Private Lessons or our Hockey Skills Class (small group class).
If your child is interested in pursing figure skating, there are a number of programs available such as Rising Stars, Intro to Dance, Intro to Powerskating and our spring and summer Rising Stars Clinic. Information on these programs can be found on our web site under the figure skating tab at the top of side, or at our registration desk. Look under the figure skating tab of our website for more information on these programs.
If your child is ready for more individual attention, consider private or semi-private lessons. Skate Great has a staff of over 25 highly qualified coaches to choose from.
Skate Great skaters can also skate in our annual skating show, Rising Stars on Ice, and compete in the annual Janice Smith Basic Skills Competition.