Having managed figure skating shops in both Chicago and Boston for well over thirty years, while raising 2 competitive skaters, I often found myself engaged in conversation with anxious parents, distracted, but curious young skaters whom I have lovingly renamed my snowflakes, and occasional situations that defied logic, basic understanding, and, infrequently, general civility. I do understand that some skate parents’ ideas are based on general misinformation or their own lamentable experiences with skating. My dilemma has been providing enough education and explanation that would convince even steadfast skate moms to look beyond their fears and predisposed opinions to explore new ideas that will make the skating experience safer, more comfortable, and generally more positive for their skaters.
One such newbie skate mom was overly concerned about the safety of her younger skater being in contact with the sharpness of the blades attached to the soles of every pair of ice skates. She was convinced that the term “blade” was used interchangeably with “knife” and insisted that the hard plastic guards used to protect blades from nicks when walking on a non-ice surface, should remain to prevent almost certain injury on the ice.
I assured her that beginner skate blades were not excessively sharp nor would they be in contact with any sliceable body parts including gloved fingers. I even attempted an incredibly fast, albeit futile, lesson on the physics behind blade construction. The bottom line was, of course, that the metal edges were needed to grip the ice and allow movement. This concluded with what would happen if her skater attempted to glide while still wearing guards. I even invited her to observe the skaters currently enjoying lessons and practice time so that she could see that it would be perfectly safe for her skater to use standard, supportive figure skates that fit her properly. With a new LTS session beginning, the store was crowded, and I said a silent prayer that I could avoid any discussion of double runners.
Unfortunately, her fears went unabated. Convinced that there would be blood on the ice within moments, she went from customer to customer, mostly other “skate moms,” seeking agreement on the potentially deadly possibilities of early learn to skate classes. Without success, she ultimately decided that dance lessons would be a safer choice and went directly to the office seeking a refund. It was a good decision for her skater, the coach, and all the other skaters that would have been in her class.
Just a reminder... DON'T USE HARD GUARDS TO STORE YOUR BLADES. THEY WILL RUST FROM THE MOISTURE, TYPICALLY IN THE STRIPED DESIGN FROM THE GUARD BASE.
Even if you dry the blades thoroughly, the temperature change will create additional moisture ( like what forms on a mirror when you run hot water.) Always remove the guards, dry the blades and use soakers.( soft guards usually made of terry cloth or another absorbent fabric) for storage.
If you collect grime and nastiness on the inside of your guards, run them through the dishwasher and allow to dry before using them.