Skating Through The Elements

April 2017
by Joanne Vassallo Jamrosz, special to U.S. Figure Skating

Clubs on the Northeast coast recently dealt with a powerful snowstorm named Stella. With that storm came tons of cancellations, including skating clubs cancelling lessons and upcoming ice show rehearsals. Most clubs have a contingency plan if bad weather, such as a super snowstorm, should occur. For many adult skaters with upcoming competitions like the U.S. Adult Championships, rescheduling ice time is of the utmost importance — especially when every practice session is crucial.

Christy Turner witnessed her rink closing in the past due to sleet and snow covered roads.

"The cancelled classes were given a make-up day," she said. "I've also had students cancel due to weather and just reschedule. Our club cancels and applies the money to another session of the skater's choosing for that year, so not much of an effect."

Aimee Ricca's rink, the Mennan Arena in Morris, New Jersey, serves as an emergency shelter should there be the need for one, so the rink never closes. She does however choose not to host practice during inclement weather.

"I have decided not to drive on the early morning ice roads a few times," Ricca said. " I may try to add additional ice time later on, staying for an extra session if I feel I need to."

Some skaters use the down time to keep up with their skills off ice. Angela Hutton Maher and her husband Joel skate adult pairs.

" I live in Raleigh and our rinks have occasionally been closed for inclement weather," Hutton Maher said. "I don’t usually make up lessons or add practices, but use the time off the ice wisely to continue to maintain flexibility, strength and cardiovascular training. We will often train off ice together at home. Maintaining this routine when we have a training interruption doesn’t affect our training on ice and we can resume where we left off."

For Megan Rowe, the most frustrating part of storm-cancelled lessons is trying to fit in a make-up when dealing with a full work schedule and 9-5 jobs.

"That's probably what's most frustrating for me," said Rowe, of Charlottesville, Virginia. "I work for a hospital and we're expected to do our job no matter what. If a 6:30 a.m. freestyle is rescheduled for 11, I just don’t get to skate. Getting in enough practice time when there’s a competition or test session is definitely a stress factor for me, especially if it falls during a time when I'm already missing ice time for other reasons, so I will try and find a way to make up the time. The rink rarely gives us make-up time because there's not room in the schedule."

Nearly all the skaters agreed that dealing with Mother Nature can sometimes be frustrating, but all agreed that when it comes to finding and rescheduling ice time, most coaches, skaters and rinks do their best.

"Missing a lesson is disappointing as there is no way to make it up with work, life and the coach’s schedule too," Kimberly Coxe said. "So I will continue the next week. Missing a practice is sometimes good as it gives my body a rest period. Other times I feel very run down because I couldn’t do my work out that day, but it does throw off the schedule and I have to find either other ice in the area or make up for the lost workout some other way."