jo skates

Skating in the key of life



First, an homage to the ingenuity of this skater over at Lake Minnetonka, whose video caught the attention of Minnesota Public Radio’s Bob Collins.

We are into the thick of winter now. I am starting my sessions skating in turtlenecks, fleece, and down jackets. But I warm up quickly these days, since I’ve been determined to  begin the session with things that feel particularly challenging: double threes, power pulls, that eight step mohawk pattern, the Kilian and reverse Kilian so that I am equally terrified in both directions, skating with my arms moving through positions (not flailing around).

Oh, and figure eights. Backwards and forwards, inner and outer, then with three attached. I never realized how difficult it is just to hold a proper edge. This past week Laurie and I worked on not “sitting” into my hip. I realized that I’m actually supposed to rise up on my knee and use the edge to accelerate as I do so. (I tend to just sink lower and lower and let the edge devolve into chaos.)

This is so basic that I can’t believe I haven’t figured this out earlier. But I’m just chalking it up to getting back into ship-shape: though in my case it’s hip-shape (groan).

Okay, that was so bad that I have to redeem myself by posting pictures.

Lesson notes:

  • edges: don’t sit into skating hip.
  • three turns: working on loading the foot (knee bend, pressure and twist) and checking.
  • progressives: don’t allow the force of the push to cause unnecessary upper body motion.
  • back inside edges: finish the rotation.


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.

8 thoughts on “(S)hipshape

  1. Love the video! A terrifying way to combine my two favorite pass times! The umbrella, although simple and easy to transport to the lake, doesn’t look like it can “sail” other than with the wind (aka down wind)–a bit of a disadvantage when it’s time to come home! No doubt there are companies just itching to take your money and sell you a hand held wing-sail that will sail upwind as well as down wind. Be the first on your lake!


  2. Thanks, George. I bet with the proper sail you could really get some speed. Maybe if you know what you’re doing, you could create some new pattern dances! Fiesta sailing!


  3. The video is beautiful! I could see that turn into a fun dramatic entertainment program!

    I have the same problem of not rising up out of the knees. It’s like I have a 100 pound weight attached to my knee and I can’t get it off!

    We will figure it out together!


  4. Eva, it’s so sad that we spend all this time learning to bend our knees and now are being told to get up off them! But like your best bread, we’ll rise!


  5. Looks like you have some fun guys at your rink! How are the new skates? I also wonder how you have been doing with the super-cold weather.


  6. Thanks, Mary! I was out of town through the second half of the polar vortex (college auditions with my son), but when I left it was minus 28 degrees WITHOUT wind chill. It’s up above freezing now that I am back, so this weather is certainly inconsistent. The new skates are still stiff, but hopefully skating more regularly this week will help. Hope you are doing well. Fun to see your post on Oleg!


  7. Another few inches yesterday and more tomorrow. Ack! At least it’s above freezing….


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