Sunday, February 07, 2016

Our experience with speed skating in Frankfurt

It’s taking us a year but we finally managed to get Andrei back into ice skating.  He used to love it back in the States and even had a private teacher for a little bit but somehow it hasn’t made our “to do” list in Germany.  

Anyway, I have had a really hard time finding a “learn to skate” program.  It seems that most times you pick figure skating, speed skating or hockey.  We choose speed skating because that’s what Andrei seems to love – going in circles as fast as he can (which is not that fast at this point). 

There are 2 speed skating clubs in Frankfurt area and we chose one because I found their information online and no other reason than we were able to call them and get some info.  We came on Wednesday at 5 o’clock and Andrei started his class.  The class itself is broken into 2 parts.  First 45 minutes are warm up which essentially means running, stretching and jumping.  Then the kids get on the ice and start doing circles as an ice warm up before they do ice exercises.  Kids can start as young as 3 (thus, Anton was ok to go if we wanted to).  The ice arena (Eissporthalle) in Frankfurt is rather huge.  The speed skaters have a separate outside rink and besides the kids practicing there are also “real speed skaters” practicing as well and going really fast.  We didn’t get home until a bit after 8PM and Andrei still needed to eat dinner before bed.

While I was waiting for Andrei, I walked around and learned some interesting things.  To begin with – if I didn’t know any better, I would think I was on the ice skating rink somewhere in Russia because I’d say at least 75% of people at the rink (that includes coaches, parents and skaters) speak Russian.   Out of about 10 kids skating with Andrei there were at least 4 Russian parents.   What I gathered after talking to a decent amount of people is that practices are twice a week and while not mandatory, HIGHLY recommended.  The second practice is on Sundays at 8AM.  I managed to find and talk to the coach of the other speed skating club and they practice Mondays and Wednesdays from 6PM to 8PM – not good for us!

What we have noticed is that absolutely nobody wears helmets, much less other protection like knee and elbow pads.  The first time Andrei got on the ice he had absolutely every kind of protection on, second time he skipped the pads and just went with the helmet.  After that the helmet was left in the car.   So all and all, Andrei went 4 times and while we thought it was really good for him and he had good time, we decided that the times it was offered just didn’t work for our family at the moment.  So now … I am going to explore figure skating since I found some classes that are offered earlier in the day.  It might be a bust, but it might be completely worth it.

P.S. Below is one of the reason why the timing does not work - both Andrei and Anton are passed out!

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