Yes, Virginia, It Does Matter Where You Get Your Ice Skates Sharpened.

My oldest daughter and I definitely learned this lesson last night. In the past, whenever her skates needed to be sharpened, we would just take them to whoever was convenient and affordable and really didn't think much about it.

Then, after the last time they were sharpened, something just seemed to be a bit "off" when she was skating. Her spins (something that is normally a strength for her) weren't as crisp and, as she described it, something never felt quite right about her right skate. Then, there was the concussion that was caused by her feeling almost as though something grabbed her skate and caused her to fall backwards.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Since they were due to be sharpened again anyway and our normal sharpening places were temporarily unavailable, I opted to ask one of her coaches to sharpen them this time. She had a good reputation and wasn't any more expensive than where we normally would take her skates. The only reason I never asked her before was because she sharpens the skates from home and it meant we wouldn't get them back for a few days. But, after having her sharpen them, we quickly learned it was worth the inconvenience.

She was very professional describing the condition of my daughter's blades and avoided saying anything negative but, based on what she explained to me, my description would be they looked like they had been sharpened by amateurs who had no idea what they were doing. The blades, quite frankly, were a mess. They were unevenly sharpened to the point it took her more than an hour just to fix the damage so she could get a proper edge on them.

And, let me tell you, it made a HUGE difference. My daughter spent about half her private lesson re-learning how to skate because, for the first time, she was actually able to glide across the ice rather than feel like her skates were pulling her in a different direction. I could see the improvement just from watching her and she quickly confirmed the difference.

Of course, now it has me wondering just how many competitions she would have placed better in had she had properly-sharpened skates and about the concussion she likely would have avoided (I wasn't there at the time but, from all accounts of her fall, she hit pretty darn hard as is lucky she didn't do more damage).

So, my advice to you, if you have a son or daughter who ice skates, is to do your research when it comes to sharpening those skates. It may mean having to pick someone who is more expensive or a little less convenient. But, if they know what they are doing, it will make a world of difference when it comes to performance and might just help them avoid an injury.


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