Snowflake is the one time of year that people in Tahlequah get the chance to ice skate without leaving town. Some patrons may have little experience skating, and there are some basic guidelines to follow when learning to race ‘round the rink.
Select the right clothing and skates. Choose a jacket, shirt, hat, gloves and pants that are warm but do not constrict. Avoid jeans, which can become damp and uncomfortable.
Whether buying or renting skates, choose them for comfort. Walk around in the skates first to gain a sense of balance.
When first stepping on the rink, hold the wall for balance. Move slowly, and try to focus vision ahead instead of on the feet. An upright head and forward vision are better for balance.
Once ready to let go of the wall, work on keeping upright. Hold the arms out, as if trying to stay on a balance beam.
Stay loose – don’t skate stiffly. Give the knees a slight bend and lean slightly forward. Toes should be out of sight and the shoulders above the knees.
Expect to fall. Actually, it is prudent to practice falling. If a tumble is expected, one might control it by quickly squatting and falling on the rear. If caught by surprise, don’t keep the arms too rigid and clench the hands to protect the fingers.
To get up, get on the hands and knees and place one skate between the hands. As the torso ascends, pull the other skate even with the first.
To move forward, lean on one foot, then push out and back in a diagonal motion with the other. Left, right, repeat. As more control of balance is attained, speed can be increased.
Just as important as moving is stopping. Bend the knees inward slightly, then push out with one or both feet. Apply slight downward pressure to keep the feet underneath.