’Tis the season! As temperatures plummet below freezing, we bundle up, brighten our homes with festive lighting, and enjoy the coziest time of the year with loved ones. For ice-enthusiasts, that usually means we get to share our favourite winter pastime with friends and family: skating!
Whether you still have access to your regular arenas, or you’re on hiatus due to the pandemic, everyone can benefit from the joys of outdoor skating. My first story covered The top 20 places to skate outdoors across North America.
In our second edition, we’re going to cover what to pack to stay cozy for your skate. We promise to make your time outdoors as comfortable (and Instagram-worthy) as possible!
# 1: Layers are your best friend
The above shot and the below shot were taken during the same day of skating outdoors at Arrowhead Provincial Park (Huntsville, Ontario).
Temperatures were a bitter -30°C (-22 °F), but the conditions were perfect for eager skaters: no crowds, dry ice, and a perfect sunset. The point is: pack for every condition. Here are my recommendations:
- Long socks (my favourite is the Floquiya Hi-Tech Skating Sock), but not too thick
- Long Johns (perfect to wear under leggings if you want a *sleek* look, but don’t want to freeze)
- Leggings (I see you Lululemon), or comfortable pants (avoid jeans)
- Leg Warmers (my favourite are the Mondor, 36 inch)
- Body-hugging tank top
- Snug long-sleeve
- Long jacket
- Infinity scarf (no loose ends to get in your way)
- Gloves (touchscreen capability is best so that you can stay warm while taking the perfect shot!)
- Mittens (pair these with your gloves for the coldest conditions)
- Earmuffs, wool headband, or a toque!
As you skate, you will warm up and cool down quickly, so have easily-interchangeable layers available to you!
# 2: Your Skate Bag
Easily the last thing you want to forget for the perfect day outdoors, even if you plan to rent equipment! Plan to pack:
- Skates (if you own a pair), I always have my custom Jackson boot and Apex freestyle blades at my door and ready for an impromptu skate
- Soft guards for transportation
- Hard guards to protect your blades (only to be used in-transit while your skates are on your feet: see our next blog for more details!)
- Cloth to dry blades
- Spare socks (in case conditions are wet)
- Water bottle
# 3: Things to keep in mind
You may be seeking the *perfect* social media post to document your ice time, so come prepared! Here are some handy things that can help capture that special moment:
- A warm drink, because nothing will halt your creative juices like feeling cold and dehydrated (I recommend a semi-sweet hot chocolate or a green tea in a Yeti mug)
- A phone stand (ex. Pop Socket, tripod, a flexible/sturdy grip, selfie stick), because the last thing you need is a cracked screen in an attempt to capture a *unique* angle
- Auxiliary cord and/or personal speaker (double-check that you can DJ beforehand as some rinks have different restrictions), nothing will help you live in the moment more than your favourite soundtrack
- A blanket (this can be a very *useful* prop)
- Your entourage! Use the afore mentioned prop to bundle up with those closest to you. Share a laugh and make sure they get all your good angles
This article was written by Victoria Smith. Victoria is a Canadian choreographer and synchronized skating coach. She was a member of NEXXICE Senior, winning the 2015 World Championships and earning 2 more world medals and 3 national titles. As a choreographer, she has worked with Team France (Chrysalides), Team Australia (Team Unity, formerly Fire on Ice), Team Turkey (Team Vizyon), and Team Great Britain (Team Zariba). She is currently a head coach at Évolution Synchronized Skating Teams in Québec, Canada. Beyond the rink, Victoria has earned a Bachelor of Arts, Honours History degree from the University of Guelph, and her TEFL Certification from the University of Toronto. She also works as an English teacher in Québec.