What Skates do we need?
At the lowest level, we allow any skates that are single blade and provide good support for skaters. But—- if parents are thinking their kids will continue in our (or other figure skating) program, it is best to start with figure skates.  Switching from no toe-picks to skates with toe-picks is a tough transition… Their knees and wrists will thank you! If your kids like to skate on ponds as well, they should have “beater skates” for the pond and good skates for the ice rink. Even we can see the difference in blade quality….

Where to buy Skates?
Beginner Skates:  Play It Again Sports (new and used), Replay Sports (used), at the Pro-Shop of the Cairns Arena in South Burlington, Dicks – call ahead whether they actually have figure skates in stock; or online at Dicks, Sears or L.L.Bean
Intermediate and Advanced Skates: Play It Again Sports (used), at the Pro-Shop of the Cairns Arena in South Burlington, Lake Placid Skate Shop; check out this website with some information on which models to choose

How to swap Skates?
Here is a link to a google doc to use for skate swapping. We do not organize skate swaps but do provide this google doc as a service.

How to size Skates?
Figure skates are sized the same way as regular shoes. To make sure use a measurement plate in a store (for both feet). Beware, skates run a bit on the large side. When you are trying on skates, wear the type of socks you will wear while skating. Your toes should not be bunched up at the tip, and the foot should not feel squeezed into the skate at the sides. Toes should be able to slightly wiggle.

How to care for Skates?
Do not let your kids skate with their regular skates on natural ice, the blades get destroyed by the knicks and bumps in the natural ice. Always dry blades with a towel or cloth after skating and do not store blades wet. Try to use a soft blade cover to store skates instead of a plastic skate guard – if skates are stored wet in plastic guards, they will rust quickly. Try not to leave your skates in the car on cold days. Don’t carry skates by the laces as its put extra strain on the laces and will cause them to wear more quickly.

Where to sharpen Skates and how often?
: locally at the Frog Hollow Bike Shop in Middlebury, at the Memorial Sports Center pro shop in Middlebury, at the Pro-Shop of the Cairns Arena in South Burlington or the Pro-Shop of the Gordon Paquette Ice Arena – at the beginning of season and in January.
Intermediate & Advanced: MariAnn offers during the season to go to Boston or Montreal to get the good kind of sharpening – any parents going to Montreal can let us know and offer same. Skaters should take advantage of sharpening whenever MariAnn offers to make the trip.

What should the skaters wear?
Start with hat or helmet, warm sweatshirt, gloves, warm leggings (snow pants can be bit too much), wool socks. Your skater will learn what works for them best. Clothes should be easy to move and bend in – no jeans.

Some groups meet twice or more a week – are the lessons mandatory?
We are a recreational program – so do not require mandatory (but encourage) attendance.
If it’s possible for you to make it with a slight accommodation (e.g., leave the ice early to get to school on time), please just speak to the coaches – they try to make it work for all.
If a different morning is possible, we are perfectly happy to have your skater come on that alternative day (albeit they will not be included in the lesson).
If weekday mornings are out of question, we encourage you to make use of the Open Skate times on Saturdays to get additional practice on ice. Not participating in morning lessons will not change the registration fee.

We do ask that families make all practices once we start rehearsing the show numbers (though we try not to use the weekday morning sessions for rehearsal, but rather use that time for skills). Skaters who do not participate in morning lessons will still pay the same fee.

Of course, skaters who are not using all available practice times, may not advance in their skills as quickly as others.

What else do I need to know?
Here are some answers from our fabulous Maria Graham in conversation with Eliza Eaton from Minibury

Where can I find private lessons?
Contact MariAnn Osborne for names of interested College students or our own coach Lily Hunt.

Where can we find open skating times?
At the College
At Memorial Sports Center in Middlebury

What happens when my kid changes their mind?
You will get a full refund through the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

When is the last day I can register my child to start skating?
Sunday after Thanksgiving.

Will there be more lessons after the IceShow?
Not organized by us but you can always contact MariAnn Osborne about private lessons from Middlebury College students.

What happens on Snow Days or Delayed Days?
When the Middlebury schools call a Snow Day or delayed opening, there will be no skating lessons.

What happens on no school days (like Fall Break/Thanksgiving)?
When the Middlebury schools are closed, there will be no skating lessons in the mornings. The rink may still be open if your skaters want to take a spin by themselves (with an adult around).