Basics of Skating: Blade Care
Watch Where You Walk:
Congrats on your new skates! Ice skating is the most unique form of exercise. Protect your investment by watching where you walk. Hard surfaces like concrete, linoleum, etc. can dull your skate’s blades making it unsafe to skate. While most rinks have rubber mats leading from lobby to rink, you should purchase a pair of hard-plastic “guards” to walk around in your skates. Guards come in many colors and styles like these by Guardog.
Walking in your guards when not on the ice is a good habit seen on all skaters, beginner to world champions. This prevents any damage that caused from stepping on metal to a crack between the rubber.
Another habit of all skaters, when done with skating is to wipe the blades removing any snow and water. Any old hand towel works. Just be careful not to cut yourself on the bottom edges as they are sharp. Keep the blades uncovered in your bag or get a pair of “soakers.” Soakers act to absorb moisture on your blades and prevent them from rusting. Rust on blades looks brown and flaky and will dull your skates and make them unsafe to use.
Lastly, when you get home, give your skates time to dry out outside of your skate bag/box. Four times a year, or quarterly, it’s best to wash your soakers to remove deposits that can build up over time.
Every skater eventually finds their own preference on how they like their blades to feel — sharp/grippy or dull/sliding. For beginners, best to regularly sharpen your skates with every class renewal which is about every 8 to 10 weeks. As you excel and visit the rink for more ice time your sharpening’s will increase. Most intermediate skaters find they need to get their skates done every month. Elite skaters report various timelines for sharpening, but generally receive a sharpening every 2–3 weeks of heavy skating. When you add competitions to your skating routine, its best to back-date your sharpening times to have them feeling great when you compete.