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Posted: 12:00 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012


Ice skating in the Miami Valley

You don’t have to be a pro to get on the ice


Ice skating in the Miami Valley photo
Skaters enjoy the MetroParks Ice Rink at RiverScape. Photo credit: Leah Stahl / Contributed

By Debbie Juniewicz

Brisk temperatures, a light flurry, a mug of steamy hot chocolate. It won’t be long before winter arrives in the Miami Valley and with it the opportunity to enjoy seasonal activities with family and friends.

An afternoon of ice skating is one way to get into the holiday spirit and get a good workout at the same time.

“Skating is a great family sport,” said Angie Riviello recreation supervisor at the Kettering Ice Arena. “And it’s also great exercise for the legs and the core.”

And there are plenty of rinks in the area to get out and skate.

Before the ice

A little preparation will go a long way toward making your time on the ice comfortable.

Apparel and equipment are the two main considerations. As with most cold-weather activities, dressing in layers is recommended.

“Wear properly fitted clothes, no long baggy pants,” Riviello said.

Jeans, a sweatshirt, a lightweight jacket and gloves are a good start if you are skating indoors. Wind will be a factor if you’re skating outside, so a hat and an extra layer might be helpful. But there is one area where you might not want to add extra layers — your feet.

“So many people wear two pairs of socks thinking it will keep their feet warm, and it’s actually one of the worst things you can do,” Riviello said. “One pair of socks will help make the skates fit more comfortably.”

On the subject of skates, just because there is an old pair in the garage, doesn’t mean you should lace them up.

“If there is any visible rust on the blades and you hit the ice, it’s going to be like hitting concrete,” Riviello said.

Unless you have a newer pair of skates or have had them sharpened recently, your best bet might be to rent skates. Rental skates usually run between $2.50-$5 a pair.

Make sure to choose a pair of skates that fits snuggly.

“The tighter the skates are, the better,” Riviello said.

On the ice

Slow and steady will help keep you safe. That starts from the moment you step foot on the ice.

Riviello suggests stepping onto the ice sideways: left foot first and then the right foot, parallel to the left.

“Stand at the door, hold onto the side and make sure your feet are angled in the right direction,” she said.

Find your balance and keep your hands in front of you while you’re skating.

Stopping is another consideration.

“Toe picks are not stoppers,” Riviello warns. “Try to glide to slow down.”

And while no one wants to fall, there are ways to land that can decrease your chances of injury.

“If you feel like you’re going to fall, don’t fight it,” Riviello said. “The best thing to do is bend your knees and get as close to the ice as possible, and then try to fall to the side.”

Try to avoid falling straight forward or backward and be careful not to land with all of your weight on your wrists.

The best way to get back on your feet after a fall is by starting on your hands and knees. Get up on one knee and then the other.

“The key is really to just go out at your own pace, relax and have fun,” Riviello said. “It’s not a race.”

Where to go

The Kettering Ice Arena, South Metro Sports Ice Haus in Centerville, Hobart Arena in Troy and, starting on Nov. 23 weather permitting, the Riverscape MetroPark ice rink, in downtown Dayton, offer novice and veteran figure skaters as well as hockey players, a place to lace up their skates.

Beginners of all ages can take lessons from the Snowplow Sam preschool beginners class to advanced jump classes.

If you already know the basics, then find an open skating time. Skating can be relatively inexpensive, even free. The Kettering Ice Arena has open skate and adult skate times available throughout the week and resident fees are $3.50 for youth and $4 for adults. Patrons who bring their own skates, can skate for free Monday through Thursday at the MetroParks ice rink.

Experienced skaters can look into joining a recreational hockey league or showcasing their skills in a competitive or performance group like the South Dayton Figure Skating Club, the Ice Kadettes or the Ice Force Precision Team at the Kettering Ice Arena.

Skate speak

Brush up on your skating terminology, so you can sound like a pro even if you look like a rookie.

Axel jump: One of the most difficult jumps, which takes off from the forward outside edge and is landed on the back outside edge of the opposite foot. A single Axel consists of 1.5 revolutions, a double is 2.5 revolutions, and a triple is 3.5 revolutions. It is easily recognizable as it is the only jump that takes off from a forward position.

Camel Spin: A spin which is done on one leg with the nonskating leg, or free leg, extended backward with knee higher than hip level. The body remains in this spiral position while spinning.

Crossovers: A method of gaining speed and turning corners in which skaters cross one foot over the other. There are both forward and backward crossovers.

Footwork: A series of steps and turns that immediately follow one another, executed in time to the music and choreographically related to each other. Also referred to as a step sequence, footwork is intended to show the precision and dexterity of the skater’s movements.

Salchow: Another edge jump taken off from the back inside edge of one foot and landed on the back outside edge of the opposite foot. Created by Ulrich Salchow.

Toe loop: A toe-pick-assisted jump that takes off and lands on the same back outside edge.


Hobart Arena

255 Adams St., Troy

(937) 339-2911

Kettering Ice Arena

2900 Glengarry Drive, Kettering

(937) 296-2587

MetroParks Ice Rink at RiverScape MetroPark

229 E. Monument Ave., Dayton

(937) 278-2607

South Metro Sports Ice Haus

10561 Success Lane, Centerville

(937) 885-7590

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