Fayette County

The new skating rink is open, so get off your lutz

Mohammad Jabbar helped Omar Ellale, 4, skate Saturday, the opening day of the United Trust Co. Ice Rink in Triangle Park. The grand opening is Friday.
Mohammad Jabbar helped Omar Ellale, 4, skate Saturday, the opening day of the United Trust Co. Ice Rink in Triangle Park. The grand opening is Friday.

People who really know how to ice skate make it hard for the rest of us.

They glide backward effortlessly, they spin gracefully, and the more advanced even show off with a skilled salchow, axel or lutz. They'll be the ones you're staring at enviously when you go to the new Unified Trust Co. Ice Rink at Triangle Park.

Once you would-be Johnny Weirs and Dorothy Hamills strap on those rental skates, said skating coach Valory Vaness, you realize that those Olympic-level skills don't come easy.

But there is hope.

First things first: Lace up those skates but good.

It probably will feel uncomfortable, professional ice skater and choreographer Kate McSwain said, but that's how it should be. Ice skates will feel tighter than everyday boots, but that's what provides the proper ankle support, said McSwain, a Lexington native who will perform at the rink's grand opening.

Now, let's talk about the most important skill for any beginner: falling correctly.

The rear end, for most people, is one of the more cushioned parts of the anatomy, but it's best to fall to the side, said June Warta, who with Vaness coaches the Thoroughbred Figure Skating Club, which also will perform Friday.

Once you start to lose balance, she said, try to lean forward and to the right or left, so you can land on a hip. This will protect your all-important noggin, Warta said.

To get started on the ice, don't try to emulate the long strides of Olympic speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno. Take small strides, Warta said, and eventually you will be moving forward.

"Move in place with little steps, and that will turn into movement," she said.

Don't be discouraged if you aren't doing a death spin by the end of the day, Vaness said. Skating takes practice, and skating well takes even more practice.

"Just take it slow and be careful, and don't get too crazy," she said. With a little practice, she said, taking to the ice can lead to a host of fun recreation, including ice dancing, hockey and synchronized skating: "There are a lot of different avenues."

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