Sunday, September 28, 2008

Learn to Skate is the best bargain in figure skating

I've written about my deep love for Learn to Skate before on this blog. I swear, I'm really in love today.

Learn to Skate is the only figure skating bargain that I know of. For $90, I can get Ice Girl six 1/2-hour lessons plus 1/2-hour practice ice. Since she's done with the basic lessons and freestyle lessons, it's pretty much a 1/2-hour private lesson. Let's see: that would normally cost $17 for the lesson and $10 for ice time. Through Learn to Skate, I pay $15.

I'll sign Ice Girl up for Learn to Skate until she goes to college, I swear.

Ice Girl is only 12, but Ice Coach (the LtS director) graciously offered to let Ice Girl assist with the little Snowplow Sams for 1/2 of the Learn to Skate hour. Ice Girl is learning a skill - coaching (albiet little ones) - and when she turns 14, she'll be able to receive a paycheck for it. She's already dreaming of the music downloads she'll buy.

Me, I'm such a groupie. I was snapping photos through the rink door of Ice Girl scooping the tots off the ice. Another parent asked which kid was mine.

The one in the blue-striped shirt.

He was completely confused.

Err. The tall one. Blonde. With the pony tail. She's helping that small boy to his feet.

Oh! She's an instructor, he said.

Well, sort of. She's learning. It's her first day.

We chatted. His kid is three. Ice Girl had the little one picking up colored rings, skating over to some cones, and stacking the rings on the cones. When the cone was full, Ice Girl scattered the rings again. That poor kid looked so disappointed that she'd ruined his hard work. Ice Girl, however, looked pleased, gushed about the kid's ring-gathering skills, and scooped him up occasionally.

She called one of her friends when we came home. "I just got home from work," she said. "It was great."

See? I love Learn to Skate. In Learn to Skate, Ice Girl learned to swizzle, then jump, then spin. Now she's learning responsibility.

It's the best bargain in figure skating, I swear.


TnT said...

Ice Mom -
As a parent (of teenage boys, not skaters), this brought a tear to my eye! The most important thing you can teach them is responsibility. Your daughter appears to be well on her way.

As a judge, former kid skater and current adult ice dancer, I would also agree with your assessment of LTS.

As someone who appreciates good writing, thank you for your well written and entertaining blog.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree! My 13 year old daughter started volunteering to help teach learn to skate this year. She loves it when she helps a child learn a new skill they are having trouble with. Sometimes she would rather be home playing with friends but I try to encourage her to help others and tell her that she is learning a new skill.

I also miss learn to skate for my daughter and she has been taking private lessons for 9 years. When she first started skating I could get 4 hours of practice ice for my daughter and myself for $6.00 per week during the parent/tot open skate(each session was 2 hours long and cost $3.00 for the parent and child to skate). Including 2 lessons, and 1 additional hour of ice for $5.00 per week (learn to skate lessons were $40.00 for two 30 min classes for 8 weeks) when she was taking her learn to skate classes after parent tot open skate. My daugher was skating 5 hours a week and had two 1/2 group lessons from age 3 to age 5.

Now I pay about $100.00 per week for ice time and an additional $75.00 per week for lesson time. My daughter skates 12 hours of ice per week and has three 1/2 hour lessons (1 1/2 hours total) per week with 2 couches. Most olympic trained skaters the same age as my daughter skate double the amount of ice time and have double the amount of lesson time than my daughter. I sometimes wonder how long she will be able to stay competetive with girls who have that kind of advantage. I sure do miss the good old days.

The expenses listed above don't include all the other expenses for this sport like costumes(3-5 total per skating season;short program, long program, ice show group, ice show solo, and exhibition),practice skatewear, competition fees, ice show fees, club memebership, test fees, skate sharpening, new skates, travel expenses, tights, gloves, skate guards, hair accessories and make up. I must really love my daughter or really need my head examined.

RedShamrock said...

Ice Mom -
Cannot thank you enough for this blog. Like TnT, I appreciate the good writing and knowing I am not alone in our experiences.

But I do think we have to move. Our Ice time is anywhere from 15 - 20 dollars and coach time 50/hour!

Ice Mom said...

You're kidding! $15-20/hour and $50/hour? Yikes! Ice here is generally $9-10 contracted, $12-13 walk-on. Over the winter break, Ice Girl skated for $5/hour, walk-on. :) Coaching is about right, I think. $35 - $60/hour.

I'm beginning to see how lucky we are. Ice Girl skates at 6 different rinks in the area. By my count, that leaves out just two area rinks where she doesn't skate. All are 1/2 hour from our house. I'm lucky, I tell you.

RedShamrock said...

Oh yes, ice around here (greater Boston) is very expensive. There are so many rinks, but figure skating takes a back seat to hockey. It is even worse during school vacations when much of the ice time is cancelled for hockey.

Hum maybe we need to go visit relatives in Milwaukee :-)

Ice Mom said...

Well, RedShamrock, I think figure skating takes a back seat to hockey just about everywhere.

During the winter break Ice Girl didn't have her regular figure skating sessions. It was actually better, though because she got...let's see...13 hours instead of her regular 8. Of course, the ice was all over the county, but at least she had ice.

Again, if I ever complain about trotting all over the county for ice again, slap me. We have it good here. My husband was talking about a job in Memphis - 2 hours of freestyle/week! Not funny.

JourneySkate said...

I too agree that many parents under estimate the value of Learn to Skate lessons! My daughter is also 13 and been skating since October 2001. Our home rink is ISI and she is in Freestyle 5 (she's got everything but the dreaded Axel!) and many girls at this level (or below) seem to feel they don't need to be in class anymore. They seem to think just private coaching and practice ice will do the trick. What they miss out on (and often fall behind as a result) is getting the imput, advice and encouragement from other coaches. My daughter was kind of stuck back in the Summer/Fall-working hard but not making progress. So we added a Learn to Skate class at another rink to double up! The class has been fabulous and she has made definite improvement. Other parents have asked me what has gotten into my daughters skating and I attribute it to the extra class. In those upper levels (the other rink is mostly USFSA so my daughter is in Freestyle 6) class size is small so she gets lots of attention from the coaches (they love that she is willing to attempt whatever they throw at her)! The skating director at this supplemental rink talked to us about Ice Show yesterday hoping that my daughter plans to participate. Says she is one of their best upper level skaters in skate school and would like for her to do a solo. What a compliment! Best value I am spending- $90 for 7 week sessions. Great return on that investment! My advice to all skating parents- take the classes!!! Kids benefit from having other coaches advice, tips and words of wisdom!

Anonymous said...

When I taught LTS as a teenager, I also received a certain number of free freestyle sessions per class I taught in addition to our paycheck. In a typical week, I skated 6 freestyles for free. It also worked out well because LTS was generally right before or after either my freestyle, synchro practice, or edge class.

ohjennran said...

I love love love your blog, and will be coming back frequently. My daughter who is 3 1/2 has been skating for about 8 months. She is in learn to skate classes (8 weeks $88, can't beat that!) and she loves it. We are now getting coach pressure to put her in competitions. Did I mention she is 3 1/2?? We are nowhere near doing competitions. But I do see the older girls in a lot of the situations you write about, homeschooling, private lessons, ice time and all that goes into it.