jo skates

Skating in the key of life

Expect the unexpected



Snow storm in April? That is certainly not unheard of in my neck of the woods. Today I rescheduled my meetings in favor of working from home. I was glad to be spared much driving, but I am feeling the effects of multiple bouts of shoveling.

I am not sure exactly how much snow there is out there, but it’s been snowing on and off for about 24 hours. And the kicker is that even though it’s pretty much stopped (I think? I hope?) there is enough wind to blow the snow around so that it still feels like it’s snowing.

I thought I did a nice job clearing the sidewalk (corner lot, arghh!) and the driveway, but after another hour I went out again to face huge drifts. I’ve cleared everything again, but no doubt this will happen again.

Doesn’t this remind you of skating? At the beginning of last week I thought I had this head weight thing all figured out, but today at my lesson I was once again tipped forward towards the ice, with the inexorable pull of gravity working against me.

To be fair, I haven’t done much skating this past week. I had a work-related trip to San Francisco. Warm and sunny, no snow, great food. Sigh.

Anyone up for a trip to Nagano to join the snow monkeys in the hot springs?

The good news is that I am back on the ice. And that my lesson included an additional tip about the head weight thing. I shouldn’t be doing this by tipping my head back, but by putting the head and neck in alignment with shoulders relaxed down the back and lifted chest (though not pushing my ribs forward).

Getting this to where it feels natural rather than strained will be a challenge, kinda like keeping my sidewalk clear. But at least it’s a start!

On a happy note, here’s the lovely Asal, who passed her Bronze Freestyle test with flying colors! Hooray!


Asal passes her Bronze Freestyle test!

Lesson notes:

  • Inside edges: practice the second half of the edge with a strong hold, then move directly to a power V push with no extraneous movement
  • Mohawk, back edge, turn (practice hold, rise and turn of head)
  • Swing roll: more twist on initial entry. Watch wrists!
  • Outside loop (enter as if for a hooking spin—get that loop smaller!)
  • Head weight is moved back with the entire upper body, not just by tipping the head
  • two-footed rockers, work on getting better edges immediately into and out of the turn, watch that you don’t block yourself with your right arm/shoulder
  • Forward cross rolls: don’t pitch forward
  • Backwards cross rolls: don’t swing shoulders around, movement should be more continuous
  • outside three, back edge (practice turning body, then head)
  • Head weight back is really working
  • Three step mohawk feet together after mohawk
  • Mohawk back outside step forward, cross roll
  • Really work on that cross roll, hips forward, don’t come up and over, cross at shins not at thighs
  • Mohawk, back outside, back cross, back outside three into mohawk and repeat on other side (axis)
  • Choctaw step forward, cross stroke (same advice), tuck behind, PRETZEL
  • Choctaw, back outside three

Author: Joskates

Don't see me on the ice? I may be in the classroom or at the theater, or hanging out with my family and friends.

6 thoughts on “Expect the unexpected

  1. If you can figure out the head weight alignment, please let us know. It seems like one of those no- raiders that’s actually quite hard to do! (Like correct Mohawks and crossovers. Sigh. )


  2. Still working on it, Eva! I will definitely report on progress!!!


  3. I wish I’d been smart enough to design (and more to the point, market) those big square trash and recycling bins with attached lids to just about every municipality in the galaxy! I feel you’re pain, even if we were somewhat snow “deprived” this year. My street has no sidewalks (Thanks be to God) so shoveling at my house is limited to the front walk and driveway. Today we had a few weak flakes about lunchtime. It was grey and raw but the moisture starved clouds lacked enthusiasm. I’m done with winter. Winter had it’s chance to mess with me and didn’t deliver—-soooo, it’s time for winter to get outta here ’til December! Our annual end of winter sock burning ritual was at the end of April. Now, where are my sandals???


  4. Sooooo done with winter too! I can’t believe it’s supposed to snow again TOMORROW! We never burn our winter socks around here… Hope you get the needed dose of sunshine soon, George!


  5. OK that head weight thing is making more sense now. That is a lot of snow for April! We too had some April snow, I managed to be driving to the rink in the pre-dawn hours in the thick of it. Didn’t stick around like yours, though. This weekend we’ve had a windstorm, which I think of as more of fall weather than spring weather, and rain, which could be any time. I’d join you in Nagano anytime, I’ve wanted to go there ever since the Olympics were there. I want to see the Buddhist temple and the snow monkeys.


  6. Am still working on the head weight idea, Mary! I’m glad your snow driving turned out okay–I find it really stressful. So fun to think about a trip to Nagano–I wonder if the skating there is any good? I found this info about the “M-Wave”–looks so cool:


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