Learning to Ice Skate Is Easier Than You Think
Some people think that all Vermonters are nuts about winter sports. If you grew up here, surely you must be an expert snowboarder, cross-country skier, ice climber, curling lead and bobsledder. At least, that’s what many folks have assumed of me, a born Vermonter. What they don’t realize is that, if your parents didn’t do winter sports, you probably didn’t, either. Thanks a lot, Mom and Dad.
Aside from sledding down Mount Philo and building snow forts à la the classic Disney short “Donald’s Snow Fight,” the only winter sport I ever tried as a kid was downhill skiing — and I sucked at it, even after two seasons’ worth of lessons in middle school.
Lately, though, I’ve gotten more into athletics. With winter’s arrival — as well as my fast-approaching 39th birthday in January — I decided to be adventurous and try a cold-weather activity that has long piqued my curiosity: ice skating.
Maybe it was the thrill of watching high school friends zip around the hockey rink that intrigued me, or the serenity of the opening sequence in “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” I have vague childhood memories of strapping on training skates, the kind with two blades, but I don’t remember ever touching ice. Or, if I did, I didn’t move more than a step or two. The thought of smacking my head, knees, elbows and everything in between on cold ice over and over kept me on solid ground — an ice-rink virgin.
If I was going to skate, I wanted to learn from an expert. After a quick internet search, I stumbled on coach Jennifer Lupia, who’s known by the clever aptronym Jenn “Loops.” A decorated figure skater and experienced coach, Loops is a six-time United States Figure Skating Association gold medalist in various categories. She teaches group and private lessons all over Vermont, sometimes crisscrossing multiple counties in a single day. After a phone chat, she agreed to join me for a couple of sessions at the Gordon H. Paquette Ice Arena at Burlington’s Leddy Park…