U.S. Figure “Skating” Magazine Articles

Ask Mr. Edge

Each month Ask Mr. Edge publishes an article for “SKATING” magazine sponsored by U.S. Figure Skating. Visit the website for full details and to submit your questions. I will be posting both current and past articles here in our blog. Got a skating question, Ask Mr. Edge!

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Geppetto's Skate Shop


May 2013 Article

Summertime Care for Your Skates

Maybe Spring will have finally sprung by the time everyone reads this article. No matter, summer is on the way and it’s time to take some extra care with your boots and blades.

Let’s start with the easy part first……..your blades! The temperature difference between the inside ice you’re skating on and the outside weather will require taking extra care when wiping your blades down. A cold blade brought out into the hot weather, will develop condensation (tiny drops of water that form on a cold surface such as a window; or in this case a blade, when warmer air comes into contact with it). If this is not immediately wiped off for a second and even third time, rust will develop on your blades. Carbon steel blades will develop condensation much quicker than stainless steel will.

Leaving rubber blade guards on instead of soakers after skating will cause black lines to form down the center of the blade hollow; this again, is from condensation build up. Placing dry terry cloth soakers on your blades after skating will reduce the risk of rust forming on your blades. Placing wet soakers on your skates will promote rust to form along the outside edges. Always be sure to carry a separate towel along in your bag for wiping your blades down after skating. Do not use soakers to wipe your blades off.

May Article pic

Other problem’s skater’s face is boot and foot odor. Although every one’s feet sweat, the amount secreted by the sweat glands varies for each individual. Add to this bacterium and dead skin cells, which also are released with sweat and you’ve a great recipe for stinky boots and feet.

Cooties!

There are several things one can do to help reduce or eliminate the odor from boots and feet:

  • Wash feet daily with an antibacterial soap. Scrub thoroughly using a soft brush to remove any dead skin cells.
  • Completely dry feet after washing. Use a hair dryer if necessary. Apply foot-specific antiperspirants or antibacterial gels to control moisture and bacterial growth. Antifungal powder also can be applied to help prevent athlete’s foot.
  • Wear absorbent cotton socks rather than nylon ones. Change socks daily, or twice a day, if necessary.
  • Wear shoes that breathe, such as sandals or shoes made from mesh or canvas. Bacteria love warm, moist, dark places in which to grow, so these types of shoes help prevent bacterial growth.
  • At the end of the day, remove insoles from skates and allow them to air out. Twenty four to thirty-six hours is a good drying time. Also loosen the laces and pull the tongue forward to allow the inside of the boots to dry.
  • Dryer sheets, such as Bounce, placed inside the boots also will help eliminate odor.

If anyone has any other suggestions in caring for stinky boots, by all means, try them. What may work for one, won’t necessarily work for another.

 

Well everyone, that about wraps things up for this column. Till next time, have a great skate……..

 

Mr. Edge


December 2012 Article

The Ice Man Cometh!

Zamboni Driver

  Needless to say, a thankless job, but somebody has to do it! Far off in a secluded room of the rink lays Mark Melone; the one man who can make it or break it (the ice that is) for hockey and figure skaters alike. Commonly known as the Zamboni driver, Mark has more on his plate than one could imagine. In addition to making ice, Mark has shared with us a quick look into his daily routine.

  • Hand out locker room keys
  • Clean floors
  • Ice maintenance aside from making ice
  • Window washing
  • Take out the garbage
  • Taking in after hour registrations and answering phones
  • Restocking vending machines
  • Outdoor lawn and building maintenance
  • To some extent, repairing the Zamboni
  • Cleaning the bathrooms and locker rooms…….yuk yuk…….
  • Gassing up the Zamboni

Aside from the visible aspect of laying down water when resurfacing the ice, Mark is also cutting and washing the ice surface as well.  There are other issues that he must be prepared for. Such as: mechanical failures, hydraulic hose failures etc. These are problems that he and the rink management must immediately address as the next ice make is only an hour or so away.

ZamboniIce Scraping Ice Scraping2

As one can see, there is a little more to this job than meets the eye and all Zamboni drivers greatly appreciate any assistance customer’s can offer during their stay at the rink. Some of the things that can be done to make their life easier are:

  • Clean up your immediate area before leaving the rink
  • If you see garbage nearby, pick it up
  • Don’t fingerprint glass doors and windows
  • If you find lost guards or other items laying around, place them in the lost and found
  • Let him know of any problems in the bathrooms immediately
  • Inform him of any broken glass inside the building or in the parking lot

Complements to the Zamboni driver unfortunately are few and far between.  If you’re “Zam Man” does a good job for you, is courteous and attentive to your needs, feel free to let him know on your way out.  I guarantee he will be very glad to hear it.

For more information and ice making tips from the “Ice Man” aka, Mark Melone, visit askmredge.com.

 

Enjoy the ride………….

 

Mr. Edge


November 2012 Article

Knit 1 – Pearl 2

 Ever wondered how many different people affect the life and career of just one skater? I doubt anyone has really given it any serious thought, so just for fun I thought it might be interesting to write some articles about those behind the scenes warriors whose unseen presence have an everyday influence on the lives of every competitive skater.

As a child, Andrea Wojtyniak of Canton, Mi (Practice Makes Perfect) spent many long hours under her grandmothers’ guidance in learning how to sew not realizing she would need these skills later in life to help her children during their skating careers.  Andrea has made her living during the past 15 years as a dressmaker, and a very good one at that: having made dresses for Alissa Czisny, Christina Gao, Charlotte Lichtman, Katia Sphilband, and many more. However, life as a dressmaker seems to be a never ending chore with sometimes having to work very long hours, even through the night so that a skater will have that perfect dress in time for their next competition.

In a recent interview with Andrea I had a chance to ask her a series of questions about her job and what it entails. Here now, is her story.

 

1. Where does one begin when making a dress:  Pick your music first then your material and build your dress around them. Make sure the dress is age and level appropriate and that your coach is involved with the selection as well.   

2. Are there any rules to follow when making a dress or a man’s skating outfit:  Yes, sleeves for the men and 50% coverage of the body trunk for women.

3. Average number of hours required to make a dress:  Between 2- 15 hours depending on thedetail of the dress and amount of bling (crystals, etc.) to be added.

4. What type of sizing issues are there to contend with:  The biggest challenge is to create an illusion that from a distance or close up everything about the dress appears to fit perfectly on the skater, no matter what their body proportions might be. Dimensions are what it’s all about.

5. Does it ever happen that a dress may take more time than usual to be made and for whatever reason it doesn’t fit properly when it’s picked up:  Very rarely, maybe once or twice a year only. The exact cause is sometimes hard to determine, but is usually easy to correct.

6. How much do dresses cost:  Anywhere from $80 on up to a couple thousand.

7. Do you design your own dresses:  Yes, often times of my own choosing and at the customer’s request as well. For skaters wanting that over the top one of a kind look, I’ll bring in other designers such as Erin Stickel or Brooke Huber.

8. How many crystals are usually on a dress:  It varies from a couple hundredto 20 or 30 gross (1 gross is equal to 144 each)

9. How much added weight is there after adding all the bling to a dress:  I don’t really know. I’ve never weighed it out. What is important to know is that a dress should never be bottom heavy, especially for dance skaters. Many times I will make a warm-up skirt or dress for a skater that will mimic the weight between that and their competition dress so it does not affect their spins or jumps.

10. Is dressmaking a very stressful job:  At times it can become so bad that I want to call it quits, but when all is said and done and I’ve had a good night sleep, I’m ready to get started on the next one.

11. How often do you receive credit for a job well done:  Often enough to be able to continue doing my job.

12. Any advice for want-a-be dressmakers:  Anyone wanting to make dresses for figure skaters should have at the least a basic knowledge of the sport and skating fashions. Be aware that figure skating is a very small participant sport and that the customer base is very limited. Sizing is everything and the quality of the stitching must be good enough so that a dress will last any skater at least one year. A poorly sewn dress will come apart in no time.

Knit

As I finished the interview I had come to the conclusion that the role she plays in a skaters life is much like that of my own………just another link to taking a skater from one step to the next in this sometimes crazy, but wonderful sport called Figure Skating.

Have you hugged your dressmaker lately? Maybe a few kind words to your dressmaker now and then wouldn’t be a bad idea!

 

Till next time, have a great skate!

Mr. Edge

 

I forgot to mention as far as dresses for others. I have done Alex and Maia Shibutani, Charlotte Lichtman and Dean Copley, Leslie Hawker, Katia Sphilband, Madison Deluca.

I think we are good.


October 2012 Article

History Repeats Itself

New products come and go: boots and blades for example. Competitions come and go, but skating injuries are here to stay! It has been nearly 11 years now since the first “Ask Mr. Edge” article appeared in Figure Skating magazine. At that time skating injuries were running rampant and very few had any clue as to why. What to do about all the injuries was the question, so a meeting had been called, bringing together all the boot manufacturers to discuss the issues at hand. The hope was that someone would be able to produce a product that would reduce if not eliminate altogether the many injuries that skaters are prone to.

During that meeting, which took place in Chicago, each manufacturer was asked for their input and what their company may be able to do in helping to solve this crisis. If my memory serves me correctly, I was the first to speak. In defense of all those present I spoke my mind and reminded everyone that great strides had already been taken and that all the boots at that time were very sound and that the problem lies with the fitting, mounting, and blade sharpening. Despite even further technologic advances in boot making; I still hold that thought to this very day.

Since that time I’ve written many articles and answered numerous questions regarding specific injuries and what one can do to resolve them. Unfortunately, many of the good boot fitters and sharpeners have long since retired or passed on to further glory, forever keeping their secrets to themselves and thus leaving behind a great void within the industry.

Many across the country who have read my articles, have a greater understanding of what to do for specific boot problems while others are still repeating the same mistakes as before. Why do I suspect this to be true? Easy! I travel around to different states to service skaters and I see firsthand that things haven’t changed. In some areas it has become even worse. While only a small part of the problem lies in claims made by manufacturers about their products which simply aren’t true, bad fittings, mountings, and sharpening most often still lead to skating injuries.

So, what can one do to limit the potential for injury?

1.  Make sure that you seek out someone who is experienced with the many different boot brands and models so your feet don’t end up with bumps and calluses on them.

feet

 

2.  Have your blades sharpened regularly……..at least monthly.

sharpening

 

3.  Make sure your blades are properly secured when they are mounted so your screws don’t fall out.

tighten screws

 

4.  Make sure the soles and heels of your boots are properly leveled and sealed so as to prevent the blades from twisting or sinking into them over time.

waterproof

 

5.  If injured, give yourself a sufficient amount of time to heel. The worst thing you can do is to come back to soon after an injury, only to have it reoccur.

injury

 

6.  Careful to not overdue your off-ice training. Those who also participate in school sports which involve running and jumping, want to make sure that the shoes you are using at school have a well supported arch in them.

 

The list goes on, but these are the most important things to remember. Till next time, have a great skate!

 

Mr. Edge


August/September 2012 Article

Skating on a Diet

Weight…….Something you no longer can expect, but yet pay a lot more for these days.

The future for boots and blades appears to be headed in a downward spiral; speaking of weight, not quality.

Some may argue against lighter weight boots and blades, maintaining that while in the air for a jump, the added weight is necessary in order to maintain stability and rotation, otherwise one might feel a sense of loss as to being able to control their feet while both in the air and upon landing. One can always argue that point by contending that it’s what a skater gets use to throughout their career, which is where my feelings are about this whole notion of lightweight versus heavier.

To help illustrate my point one needs to only have a bit of knowledge about the human body and how easily it can adapt. Lest we forget, everyone should have learned this at some point in school when growing up. Bottom line is that as a skater continues to improve and acquire their double and triple jumps timing becomes more critical and so does controlling body alignment. Remember when hockey players would train while wearing weights around their ankles, and what about baseball players…….they still warm up in the batting circle with weights on their bats…….why might this be……..need I say to improve on their speed……in skating or swinging the bat. Remember these athletes have trained for many years using weights and then removing them just before skating or batting. They have adapted to using weights and immediately their bodies re-adapt when the weight is removed.

Moving right along now, let’s take a look at the advantage of less weight in figure skating:

  • More speed with less effort
  • Quicker turns and footwork
  • More height on jumps
  • Faster spin rotation
  • Increased endurance while practicing or skating longer programs

So why hasn’t there been a much quicker transition to lightweight boots and blades? It’s my opinion that a vast majority of people involved in skating have been ill-informed, lack the education (knowledge of their equipment), and instruction (how to apply new boot and blade technology) in order to take a skater to the next level within a shorter period of time.

Manufacturing technology for boots and blades has remained the same for decades, and only within the past 5-7 years has new technology crept its way to the forefront. Softer carbon steel blades are quickly becoming a thing of the past; being replaced by much harder wear resistant stainless steel ones. In the future expect to see carbon steel blades available on lower test blades only.

Taking a quantum leap forward this fall, Paramount Sk8’s will be introducing an affordable intermediate lightweight blade for under $200. I’m told this blade will feature a Coronation Ace toe pick and radius design.

blade

On another note………The rumor mill runs rapid in this industry and so do claims about boots and blades……allow me to take a moment to dispel a few of them:

  • Paramount blades make more noise on the ice than other blades…….Not
  • Paramount blades are hollow in the center…..LOL do your research and you’ll find this not to be true
  • Edea boots, even though they only come in one width, can be heat molded to fit any shape of foot……LOL…….just like all boots in time, will conform to any foot….not!
  • Parabolic blades are much better for spinning because of their design……When coming off a very worn used blade which has no rocker left to it, any new blade will allow you to spin 100% better than with your old blade……..so why pay for more?

I could go on and on, and maybe in a future article I might just do that, but for now I’ll simply restrain myself. Like it or not skaters, skating boots and blades are on a diet, and expect to pay more for less in the future………

 

Till next time…………happy skating and stay cool for the remainder of the summer……..

Mr. Edge


June/July 2012 Article

Does Your Blade Make the Grade

FYI………..There actually is a grading system for figure skate blades! That’s right skaters……depending on who you speak to, blades are graded on a scale of 1 – 3 or 4. Canadian manufactures however will grade their blades according to the skating level for which each are used. However, for an easier understanding and generally speaking, we will use the most common grading system: following that of design and manufacturing procedures.

Blades are graded upon the following:

  • Varying carbon content of the steel which blades are made from
  • Edge hardening
  • Quality of the weld points
  • Blanking (stamping out) vs. Laser cutting
  • Chrome plating quality
  • Polishing
  • Design modifications

Let’s now take a look at how different grades of blades are determined: by what may or may not be apparent at a first look, etc……..starting from bottom to top:

Grade 3 & 4:

  • Very small toe picks
  • Little to no rocker profile
  • Stamping out blade shape (not laser cut)
  • Silver soldered weld points
  • Lower grade of steel
  • Does not hold and edge very well when sharpened
  • Slight splash of chrome plating, if any
  • Sold as an inexpensive boot and blade combination: price point under $100.00

Grade 2:

  • Slightly larger and differently configured toe picks
  • May or may not have a rocker profile
  • Stamping out of blade shape
  • Stronger silver soldered or hand brazed welds
  • Slightly higher grade of steel than used in Grade 3 and 4 blades
  • Slightly higher degree of edge hardness than Grade 3 or 4 blades
  • Higher degree of chrome plating
  • Some degree of polishing following chrome plating
  • Examples: Quest Onyx and Topaz, Mirage, Mark 4, MK 21, Rinkmaster

Grade 1:

  • Toe picks larger and configured much differently for more difficult jumps
  • Different rocker profiles for spinning
  • Stronger silver soldered welds
  • Higher grade of carbon steel in some cases
  • Superior polishing following chrome plating
  • Special design modifications i.e., parabolic, side honing, tapered edges, K-pick, etc.
  • Additional edge hardening procedure to maintain the highest degree of edge hardness: between 54-60 degree on the Rockwell scale
  • Examples: Wilson Coronation Ace on up, MK Professional on up, Ultima Protege on up, entire Riedell Eclispe line

No matter which blade line you may be speaking of, just because one blade may be more expensive than another does not mean that they are inherently better blades: unless you are comparing them to the Paramount or Matrix line, which fall into a different category because they are using stainless instead of carbon steel.

Carbon steel blades for the most part are all made using the same manufacturing process. Certain blades are more expensive simply because of supply and demand and a few slight design modifications like side honing, which makes them more costly to produce.

Both Paramount and Ultima Matrix on the other hand, use stainless steel, placing them on a different scale of edge hardness. One very noticeable difference when comparing Paramount and Ultima to other manufacturer’s is the fact that both use a flat surface grinding procedure during the manufacturing process which gives way to enhanced edge bite. Following the chrome plating procedure, other manufactures grind away in order to remove the chrome plating along the edges to insure that the hardened steel is at the working surface.  This in itself distorts the edges to such a degree that it creates drag while skating and reduces edge bite as well.

 

So there you have it skaters………a bit of knowledge on how blades are graded and the quality thereof………One last thing to keep in mind is continuous sharpening will gradually decrease the radius in any blade, eventually rendering it useless to anyone. If your blades are approaching 2 years of age or are older, are experiencing difficulty in spinning, and have to sharpen your blades more often, then it’s time to replace them with a new pair.

 

Till next time…….have a great skate……….

Mr. Edge


 May 2012 Article

Tongue Breakdown

With the economy still struggling along skaters everywhere are still trying to get every last bit of wear and tear possible from their skates. One of the most common areas of the boot that easily break down is the tongues.

Tongue is Broken Down

When this happens, it leaves the door wide open for developing either a deep bruise or tendonitis on the instep of the foot.

 

This commonly happens when someone is skating in a boot that has too much support, or has just outlived its usefulness. In boots having too much support, the tongues take on all the force when landing jumps and begin to crease rather easily rather than developing a normal crease at the instep area of the boot,. After a period of time, there is no more support left in the tongue and it begins backing and pressing into the instep of the foot.

 

Signs of this beginning to happen are very easily visible, but also can be felt. The visible signs are easy to note while the physical symptoms will come on slowly, until it is almost too late. It is wise to take note of the visible signs and address repairing the problem at that point rather than waiting until you are feeling pain in your instep.

 

Repairing the problem can be done by either totally replacing the tongues, or re-supporting them. Replacing the tongues is the easiest, but in many cases your boots will need to be sent back to the manufacturer to be repaired. There is also the possibility that you may not be able to replace the tongues because of how they are sewn into the boots when making them. It is best to call the manufacturer and ask if they can be replaced or not. They will be able to instruct you on the best way to go about doing this.

 

Re-Supporting the tongues in most cases can be done at a local shoe repair shop providing they have the proper materials and follow the instructions I’ve listed below:

 

Materials needed:

¼” or ½” sponge rubber – will need only if replacing the original lining

Poron – used sometimes, but not always

# 5 or #7 iron line rubber

Barge Cement

 

1: Peal back sponge lining to the bottom of the tongue (will need both a razor blade and badge cement glue solvent)

2: Peel off poron behind sponge lining in center of boot……try to get off in 1 piece as this will need to go back on again.

3: Use poron as a template for making the reinforcement piece…….it may need to be shorter, but not longer, and will need to be wider than the original poron piece.

4: Cut the reinforcement piece to fit on the tongue

5: Glue back on the poron where it came off of. (Will need to fine sand the tongue backing for better adhesion)

6: Glue in the reinforcement piece over the poron piece.

7: Glue the sponge lining back on over the reinforcement piece.

Before closing, I might add that everyone reading this article make a copy of it and keep it in your skate bag just in case you ever need to have your tongues repaired.

Till next time……….happy skating……….

Mr. Edge


 April 2012 Article

Preventing Boot and Foot Odor

Prevent Skate Odor

Before getting started, just a quick reminder that if you ever have any questions or comments you can e-mail them to me via the U.S. Figure Skating website. Every effort will be made to answer each and every question you send in. Also, be sure and double check that you include your return e-mail address and that it is correct.

One of the most common problems skaters and everyone in general are faced with is foot, shoe, and skate boot odor. Some might argue as to where the odor came from first: wearing your boots or shoes for too long or just having stinky feet in general.

Well, rest assured that although everyone’s feet do sweat, the amount that is secreted by the sweat glands varies. Add to this bacterium and dead skin cells, which are also released during the sweating process and now you, have a great recipe for stinky, smelly boots and feet.

Take heart though for there are several things you can do to help reduce or eliminate altogether the odor from your boots and feet. Try any or all of the suggestions below and see if any of them work for you………..

  • Wash feet daily with an antibacterial soap. Scrub feet thoroughly using a soft brush to remove the dead skin cells. Also scrub between your toes as well.
  • Completely dry feet after washing. Use a hair dryer if necessary. Apply foot specific antiperspirants or antibacterial gels to your feet to control moisture and bacterial growth. Antifungal powder can also be applied to help prevent athlete’s foot.
  • Wear absorbent cotton socks rather than nylon socks, which don’t absorb sweat very well. Change your socks at least daily and twice a day if necessary.
  • During your daily routine, wear shoes that breathe: sandals or those made from mesh or canvas. Bacteria love warm moist dark places in which to grow and these types of shoes help to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Prior to putting on your skates, cover your feet with a medicated foot powder of your choosing. Apply the powder directly onto your feet before putting any socks or tights on. Note:  If skating barefoot, be sure and pat down your feet with the powder. Do not pour it directly into your boots.
  • After your day is over, remove the insoles from both your shoes and skates and allow them to air out. 24-36 hours is a good drying time. Also loosen up the laces on your skates and pull your tongue forward to allow the inside of your boots to dry.
  • Dryer sheets such as Bounce or any other brand. Just tear them off and place them in your shoes or skate boots.

There are other more drastic doctor recommended ways in which to deal with sweaty feet, but so far as skating is concerned, one of the methods above should take care of the problem.

 

Before closing, I believe there is room for at least one question to answer……..

 

Caroline in Jacksonville, Florida has discovered that by cutting up credit cards and placing them in between the boot and the blade, helped with her pronation. She’s wondering if there is a commercial product that would be better to use.

 

The first line of defense is to make sure that the soles and heels of the boots have been leveled to the blades. This can be done much more accurately by using a belt sander. Once this has been done it’s time to mount and check the positioning of the blades. If a skater still feels as if they are rolling in (pronating), then a heel wedge; which can be purchased at any shoe repair shop should be placed under the insoles of the boots. These little wedges will prevent the heel from rolling in. In the case of severe pronation, it’s best to consider custom orthotics of some sort. In this case, you’ll need to see a sports medicine podiatrist.

Well skaters……… there you have it…………enjoy and good luck with those little stinker’s!

 

Mr. Edge


March 2012 Article

New Product Update for 2012

Well skaters, once again it’s time for the 2012 product update……last year brought us Edea boots and Riedell’s new Eclispe blade line. The start of this year brings us a sad but true story……

Klingbeil Shoe Labs:  Makers of Klingbeil skating boots will be closing their doors sometime this spring. Those needing another pair would be well advised to place your order now before they close their doors forever. The Klingbeil name is recognized as being one of the premiere boot manufacturer’s in the world. Don Klingbeil, son of founder Bill Klingbeil will be greatly missed by both manufacturers and skaters alike.

Harlick & CompanyNo new changes to their boot line for 2012. Their X-line design is working out great in being able to fit skaters with a much broader shaped ball area.

SP-Teri Boots: Nothing new to report. Their Zero Gravity model seems to be doing exceptionally well ever since it was introduced and personally, I give it two thumbs up.

Wilson/MK BladesNothing new to report here either. Expect prices to stay relatively the same with little to no change.

Eclispe Blades2 new blades have been added to Riedell’s Eclispe blade line. The Pinnacle: modeled after the Wilson Gold Seal and the Crescent, a low cost introductory freestyle blade.

Eclipse Blades
Crescent
Eclipse Blades
Pinnacle

Paramount Sk8’sNothing new to report with their blade line. Fortunately, their blade quality and perfection in design leaves very little room for improvement. Later this year there expects to be a major announcement from Paramount about a new product which they’ve been working on now for the past 2 years.

Jackson/UltimaNew products are not expected to be available until April of this year…….

Jackson   Support Rating SystemJackson is pleased to introduce the   Jackson Support Rating System, to assist skaters and coaches in the selection   of the boot or skate most appropriate for their requirements. The system   utilizes a numeric / descriptive support rating on all products in the   Jackson line.

The Elite Supreme 3900 boot will be   available in 4 different Support Levels: 95-Ultimate, 90-Premium, 80-Strong   and 69-Firm.

As a result, skaters that require less support can now access all of the   features and benefits of the Elite Supreme boot, but with a support package   appropriate to their level of skating. Most manufacturers only offer top of   the line models in a very stiff configuration. It didn’t seem to make sense   that other skaters would be denied the most advanced technology.

Elle – NEW 2012 Product

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advanced Entry Level

Sizes Widths Support
DJ2130   Women’s Elle with Mark IV blade 4   – 10 B,   C, D 35   – Moderate
DJ2131   Misses Elle with Mark IV blade 11   – 3.5 B,   C 30   – Moderate
DJ2000   Women’s Elle 4   – 10 B,   C, D 35   – Moderate
DJ2001   Misses Elle 11   – 3.5 B,   C 30   – Moderate

 

 

 

 

  • Softer top-line with rolled collar
  • Fully padded PU lining is treated with antibacterial properties
  • Foam padding is shaped asymmetrically for lasting comfort and fit
  • Flex notch for added flexibility
  • Sponge foam tongue lining
  • LCL Sole (Layered Cork Leather) light-weight outsole
  • Available as boot only or as an outfit with Ultima Mark IV all purpose blade

Freestyle – Updated for 2012

Single Jump Level

Sizes Widths Support
DJ2190   Women’s Freestyle with Ultima Aspire blade 4   – 10 A,   B, C 45   – Moderate
DJ2191   Misses Freestyle with Ultima Aspire blade 11   – 3.5 B,   C 40   – Moderate
DJ2100   Women’s Freestyle 4   – 10 A,   B, C 45   – Moderate
DJ2101   Misses Freestyle 11   – 3.5 B,   C 40   – Moderate

 

 

 

  • Softer top-line with rolled collar
  • Contoured back-strap
  • Fully padded microfiber lining is treated with antibacterial properties
  • Foam padding is shaped asymmetrically for lasting comfort and fit
  • Flex notch for added flexibility
  • Covered foam leather tongue
  • LCL Sole (Layered Cork Leather) light-weight outsole
  • Available as boot only or as an outfit with Ultima Aspire all purpose blade

 

Competitor XP – Updated for 2012

Single Jumps – Axel Level

Sizes Widths Support
DJ2470   Women’s Competitor XP with Ultima Aspire XP 4   – 10 A,   B, C, D 55   – Firm
DJ2471   Misses Competitor XP with Ultima Aspire XP blade 1   – 3.5 A,   B, C, D 50   – Firm

 

 

  • Soft top-line with rolled collar
  • Contoured back-strap
  • Fully padded microfiber lining is treated with antibacterial properties
  • Foam padding is shaped asymmetrically for lasting comfort and fit
  • Flex notch for added flexibility
  • NEW! Covered one piece contour tongue with memory foam padding
  • LCL Sole (Layered Cork Leather) light-weight outsole
  • Ultima Aspire XP high quality blade attached with screws

Synchro 3410

Advanced Synchro Level – Support Level: 70 – Strong

  • Conventional one piece bark or white colored upper construction with lower boot height and microfiber covered stretch collar for increased comfort and foot extension
  • Fully padded Stretch microfiber lining is treated with antibacterial properties
  • Leather forepart protector
  • Anatomically designed, double padded tongue with multiple flex openings to reduce lace bite
  • Double leather outsole
  • Elite Foot-bed System

Penguin Specialties:  Creators of the Rockerz blade guard have a new improved guard for this year and expect to have it mass distributed to skate shops around the world this spring.

Rockerz Skate Guards
Click Here to visit the website
Rockerz Skate Guards
Click Here to visit the website

 

 

Riedell BootsNew to the lineup for this year is the 229 TS which is designed with the advancing skater in mind. Highlights for this model include:

  • Hand rolled collar to help eliminate lower leg irritation
  • Soft Dri-Lex TM  lining to keep moisture out
  • Leather soles and heels
  • Triple reinforced uppers for firm support  Note: This does not represent triple strength
  • Comes with beginners Quest Onyx blade attached
229TS

Edea BootsWill be sporting a new sole this year with 2 layers of different materials designed to minimize vibrations for a smoother flow through the ice.

Well skaters…..there you have it once again…….a brief update of what you can expect to see in 2012……………may you all have a fantastic spring and a great skate to boot!!!!!

Mr. Edge


February 2012 Article

So You Want to be a Professional Skate Technician – Part 2

Last month I talked about how important it is that you become familiar with the equipment you are selling and named 6 areas of importance; boot fitting and construction, blades, blade mounting, sharpening, and skate repairs. Even though there are many areas from which to draw upon this information, effectively applying it in everyday use can be very complicated.

Aside from the 6 service areas of a pro-shop, there are other areas of importance which you’ll need to know about before opening your shop. These include the following:

  • Financial Commitment
  • Shop Location and Size
  • Customer Service
  • Promotion – Advertising/Marketing

Financial Commitment

At a minimum, you’ll need to purchase a skate sharpening machine, boot last for mounting skates, drills, boot stretcher, ankle punch tool, and some incidentals…….mounting screws, small hand tools, etc.  Roughly around $5,000……..

Shop Location and Size

Your next step is to find a good location for your business. The least expensive space for rent would be your own home for starters. A room the size of a small office, heated garage, or basement would be ideal for starting out. Once your business expands to the point where you and your neighbor’s feel that there are far too many people coming and going in the neighborhood, it then becomes necessary to consider a larger location and the possibility of it becoming your full time employment.

The best location for any pro-shop is to be as close to the skaters as possible. Inside an ice arena would be perfect. If there is no rental space available at the rink, then a nearby shopping mall would be good as well.

Geppetto's Skate Shop

Rents vary according to the square footage available and unfortunately, there are no guidelines in determining the rent inside a rink as there is with retail space inside a mall. It is therefore up to you and the rink owner to agree on a fair rent. Remember, it is in the rink owner’s best interest to have someone on hand to service his customers. If you ultimately have to rent space at a mall, then it’s time to consider hiring an attorney who partners with mall operators to make sure that you are getting the best deal possible on rental space in the location where you want to be.

If renting inside a rink, a small room about the size of 150 sq. ft. would do just fine to start with, providing you only want to mount, sharpen, and repair skates. If you’re looking to carry a small inventory of boots, blades, soakers, blade guards, and other accessories, then you’ll need at least 250 sq. ft. As you expand your business, you’ll need to make an additional investment of at least another $7,000 for inventory, display cases, etc. Depending on the location within the ice rink, you may find that air conditioning, electric, and heat will be included in the rent. This is a huge savings as opposed to renting mall space.

When renting retail space inside a mall, it’s best to find a previously used space that may still contain some display cases and wall coverings rather than having the added expense of building out your own space. A good size space that will leave you with plenty of room for expansion would be between 750 and 1200 sq. ft.

Skate Store

Customer Service

Very rarely does a small business survive without great customer service and the pro-shop business is hugely service oriented. One needs to be ready to solve any number of problems immediately or within a day or two when servicing competitive figure skaters. If there is something you’re not able to repair on a skate, i.e., replacing broken hooks, then it’s best to have already established a relationship with a shoe repair shop in your area for any stitching or other specialty boot repairs.

Always pre-schedule your sharpening and fitting appointments and leave room in between each of them for the unexpected walk-in.

Promotion – Advertising/Marketing

The best way to promote or market your business when starting out is to establish relationships with the skating coach’s in your area. This is sometimes easily done by simply calling them on the phone or visiting them at the ice rink. You should be prepared to give them a business card along with a listing of all the services you offer. Included should be your name, phone number, e-mail address, and most importantly……your business hours. Placing notes on the rink bulletin boards can also be a plus as well.

After establishing a loyal following, you may want to see about writing some articles about skating for the local newspapers. There is also the possibility of getting on a local sports radio talk show come winter.

 

Well skaters……..there you have it………I hope that you enjoy a very safe and prosperous year with your skating…………

Mr. Edge


  January 2012 Article

So You Want To Be A Professional Skate Technician – Part 1

 So what does it take to become a professional skate technician in the figure skating world?

Simply put…….hard work and dedication. Experience of course is a contributing factor in becoming a professional at anything you choose to do, but what should you know to become a skate technician? Let’s find out……………

Know the equipment you will be selling and servicing. Learn about each piece and the important role each plays in relationship to one another..

  1. Boot fitting…..Each brand boot fits and feels differently on one’s foot. One brand may have a slightly wider heel while others may fit much narrower. A skater with a wider heel for example may be uncomfortable in one brand while another fits perfectly.
  2. Boot Construction…….Some models may come with a composite plastic sole and heel while others are made of leather. Each boot model will have different options to suit each individual skater’s needs. Inexperienced skaters don’t need the same boot options as an experienced skater working on double or triple jumps. Experienced skaters need a much stronger boot to handle their strength and skill level.
  3. Blades……This is very important. Using the proper blade for ones skill level can be the difference between having long, struggling practice hours and achieving your goals with ease. Each freestyle blade is designed on a learning curve. As the skater moves up in skills so does the type of blade that is needed. Beginning freestyle skaters would find it difficult to skate on a high test freestyle blade because it would make certain jumps and spins harder for them. Likewise, hi-test skaters would find it difficult to perform doubles and triples using a low freestyle model blade because their skills are far more advanced than what the blade was designed for. Blades are also constructed of different qualities of steel. The better the grade of steel, the easier a blade will glide over and cut through the ice. Toe pick configurations are different and must also be taken into consideration as well.
  4. Blade Mounting………..Is extremely important to maximize ones skating performance. Not everyone will have their blades mounted in the same way. Blades must be mounted to match the skaters’ foot mechanics and body posture. Incorrectly mounted blades can create a variety of problems including controlling jump takeoffs, landings, and spins.
  5. Blade Sharpening……..How does one become an expert skate sharpener? Practice, practice, practice! Figure blades shouldn’t be sharpened on just any grinding wheel or bench grinder. There are several companies that manufacture skate sharpening machines. One should be prepared to spend a minimum of $5000 or more when purchasing a machine and its accessories. Once you have the proper tools, it’s time to get to work. You will literally need to sharpen thousands of blades before you fully hone your skills. Skate sharpening is an art and a skill, and should not be taken lightly.
  6. Skate Repairs…….Skates, like anything else, need to be serviced regularly. Boot tongues need to be relined, insoles changed, screws tightened, etc……Skate repairs can be as simple as changing out laces or as complicated as re-mounting the blades.

Learning everything you need to know about skates, skating equipment, sharpening, and blade mounting will not happen overnight. Having many years of experience and knowledge is what makes someone an outstanding skate technician. A good skate technician will learn from their mistakes and triumph from their successes. I have literally spent a lifetime researching and learning about boots, blades, sharpening, etc., and continue to learn as time goes on. As I continue to pass my knowledge on to you I desire that every skater achieve their goals in skating; turning to a professional skate technician for the proper advice and services will prove to be a valuable asset throughout your skating career.

Experience is the key to being successful at anything. Whether you are a beginner looking for some exercise, or are in it to win it; care must be taken. A combination of proper equipment, using the services of a well-qualified skate technician, and a good coach will make your entire skating experience more rewarding.

Stay tuned next month as Part 2 takes a look into setting up your own storefront location.

Mr. Edge

“Changing the Way the World Skates, One Skater at a Time”


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