Sunday, May 21, 2017

HD Ice Halo: A preliminary report

Hello, and thank-you for attending today's briefing.   I've now worn my new Ice Halo HD during a pair of public sessions, and I must say that it certainly seems to be more comfortable than the standard model with the Velcro closure (ie: my head didn't ache and I wasn't fooling with the head gear at the mid-way point of the session in an attempt to make it feel better).  In fact, today I forgot to remove my green beanie until I was outside the rink at the end of the session, heading for the car.  I contrast, the standard version of the Ice Halo is the first thing I remove after getting off the ice--usually I can't wait to take it off.

Nor did it slip out of place at any time during my warm-up, lesson, or apres-lesson practice. Full disclosure:  I don't do triple or double or even single jumps.  Jumping, on the part of your diarist, is strictly limited by SWMBO to half-rotational jumps--at the most (think Waltz jump and half-flip).  So, big impressive jumpers--your mileage may vary (but unless you're doing Surla Bonaly back flips, I doubt it).

Obviously, more wearings will be required before stepping up to the microphone to make a definitive statement, but  I think this is going to be a relatively short-lived trial, sort of like a medical intervention that's is so overwhelmingly positive during the early stages that the researchers are compelled to suspend the trial early for the ethical benefit of the placebo group.

The unresolved  $64 dollar $95 (well, that's Canadian, so roughly $70) question is: is it as safe as or, better yet, safer than the standard version?   I just don't know.

My ice dance coach immediately (and positively) commented on the sea foam green aspect.  "That color's coming back", she opined.  Alert the press: your old diarist (and big bands) are coming back.

So, at first blush we can tick off three out of five of the big questions: Comfort, (yes) Fit, (yes) and Style (yes!) are all in the plus column.

The unanswered questions of durability and safety are ones which are resolvable only by time for the former and misadventure for the latter.  As we say in the biological sciences, or when taste testing something yummy in a relative's kitchen, "while current results are highly promising, more research is required".

Of course, independent confirmation by other current standard edition Ice Halo wearers would strengthen these observations.  Any stepper-uppers in the on-deck circle?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sea Foam Green is the new Black.

Ice Halo has two versions of their head protective gear.  there's the standard model which comes as a flat strap with a Velcro closure that one wraps around one's head.  The Velcro permits size adjustment within a given range.  A newer model called the "HD" for the high(er) density foam material comes as circular or donut shape that one slips on like a ball cap.  The HD model requires slightly more careful head measurement prior to ordering.  I wondered if the HD would be more comfortable, less prone to slip and offer a tad more protection.  I posted these questions to and while I did get some feedback I didn't get a definitive answer since nobody owned both versions and so a direct comparison could not be made.  There was nothing in it but to bite the bullet and order one.  So I did.

The HD comes in a range of colors.  Being a child of the 1940s/50s I'm a sucker for Sea Foam Green.  As can be seen, the HD really isn't one-piece construction but rather two pieces joined in the middle on either side  I'm not sure how the sections are joined.  It would take a bit of deconstruction to find out.  Maybe my curiosity will overcome my resistance after it's not brand new.  For now that aspect will remain a little mystery.  Note that the back part of the HD kicks up slightly in the part which protects the back of the head.

The Ice Halo company really wants you to know which part is back and which side is up.  Like all things Canadian, this product is bi-lingual.  I can now spell Spandex in French--bonus!
One difference between the standard and HD models is that one can request the standard version with the company logo hidden away on the inside.  When you wear an HD you become a billboard for Ice Halo.  At least the logo button is discrete.
Standard (black) and HD ice halos.  The red band around the Velcro closure on the standard edition is an old ice rink wrist band which wasn't long enough to go around my wrist guards. In this photo the wrist band suggests that the Velcro has become worn.  In actuality, the Velcro, after two years of constant use, is as good as new.
I plan to wear the HD for the first time today when I have my next ice dance lesson.  One reason for buying the HD is to see if it is more comfortable to wear than the standard model.  If I get the Velcro closure snug enough to keep the original ice halo from slipping it tends to become uncomfortable mid-way through a two hour public.  Will the HD go the distance?  We shall see.  As for the relative merits of safety, it may be a while before I can report on that.  I have "crash tested" the standard model twice and both times the ice halo spared me another ride in an ambulance.  Hopefully the HD will be as good if not a tad better.  While I don't plan to go out of my way to "test" it, one never knows when the next head slamming fall will occur. Stay tuned.

Monday, May 1, 2017


Has anyone experienced this?

I skated the mid-afternoon public yesterday.  The ice was just crowded enough that you could only sneak in a complete dance pattern every now and then--which by it's self is not that unusual.  So anyway I retreated to a corner to work on stuff that one does in the corner (Mohawks, 3-turns, a few back swing rolls,  alternating back chasses down the red line, etc.).  After a while I noticed that I had two kids shadowing me: I'd do a Mohawk and they'd attempt to do one,  I'd do a 3-turn, they'd attempt to mimic it in an untutored kid kinda way.  It was a little humorous but at the same time a little frustrating because they were right. on. my. heel! Often only about a blade length or two away.  The ice was heavily rutted from the hockey match that preceded the public and I was a little concerned that if I caught an edge I'd flatten a kid!  I skated away from them to the opposite end of the rink and set up camp in one of those corners.  Quick as a flash, my two little disciples were right there!  I decided to skate laps doing alternating forward progressives in the hopes that I could wear 'em out or at least make them bored, but nope, they trailed along hot on my tail like sea gulls following a fishing boat.  My strategy didn't work--well actually it did--they wore me out!  I got off the ice a half hour early.  They were too funny but I hope I never see 'em again!