Thursday, October 30, 2014

A new beginning

With every visit I discover something new.  How I missed this poster during my first visit is a mystery.  Skater's Paradise, it seems, isn't exclusively about figure skating.  The Cunninghams have their share of admirers in the NHL.  Here we see Bobby Orr in full flight.

Back in the 1970s, I was in the Coast Guard, attached to the Cutter Sherman which in those days called Boston her home port.  When the ship was in port I was occasionally lucky enough to see Bobby Orr skate for the Bruins.

But skater's Paradise isn't all about the past.  Here's a brochure for the USFSA Championships which take place this coming January in Greensboro, North Carolina.

This leaflet looks even further into the future.

 So, OK, today I went to my fitting appointment for new boots.  My current boots and blades will be three years old this coming February--which I've been told is an eternity for figure skating boots.  Either that or I'm just hard on my equipment.  Mike suggested that I should stay with Jackson boots since I have wide feet.  Interestingly, after measuring my feet he reduced the boot size from nine and a half to size nine.  We discussed various Jackson models.  I'm currently in the Freestyle model.  Mike recommended that I stay with that since the next boot above the Freestyle model is quite a bit stiffer.  Female skaters have an intermediate stiffness boot within the Jackson line up but males do not.  Mike didn't want to "over boot" me and I told him that he was the doctor, so another pair of Freestyles, abet a half size, smaller it is.

He suggested that I move up to Aspire blades with cross cut toe picks.  This is a step up from my current Mirage blades which have straight cut picks.  Both the Mirage and Aspire feature an 8 foot rocker and have 1/2" radius of hollow so I shouldn't notice a big difference in blade feel.  New generation Freestyle boots come standard with Aspire straight cut picks.  Hopefully the slightly smaller boots will eliminate the heel slop I've dealt with almost from the beginning with my current boots.  The new Freestyles also have much better padding for the tongue of the boots than the previous boots, as well as a rolled and padded collar area around the top of the boots for a bit more comfort when deeply bending the ankle.  The boots and blades should arrive in a week or so.  I'm looking forward to having new, potentially better fitting boots.  I'm hoping the break-in period is swift and not too painful.  It remains to be seen what, if any, difference the cross cut picks will make.  Bottom line is not a lot of change.  The $64,000 question is will the small, incremental changes to slightly smaller (better fitting) boots and slightly more aggressive blades add up to a measurably improved geezer skater?  We shall soon see!


  1. Hope they are better than expected!

  2. Thanks. I think they will be. The half size reduction in boot size translates to about 3/16", which doesn't sound like much but that's enough to allow your heels to squirm around inside the boots and is about the effective limits of home remedies like extra padding, ankle sleeves, different foot beds, etc can allow for. What's needed are boots that fit closely such that the foot and the blade move as one. Sloppy fitting boots are as annoying as a boat tiller which has a small bit of play in its movement. The "rub" of course is that boots which fit tightly often generate a laundry list of foot complains until the boots break in. The good news is that most modern skate boots (including these Jacksons) have heat moldable interiors which speeds up the process.