Family Fun: Cheap Skates for Cheapskates

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by Robin
(photo source)

It is definitely an expensive hobby, this living in Canada thing.  With so many distinct seasons we have clothing and sporting good needs that those in sunny locale's need not even think about. 

But there are benefits to this cold climate.  There's one benefit we'd like to take more advantage of: winter sports. 

So far this year we have tobogganing, snowball fighting and snowman making under our belts.  This month we are doing something that requires more skill, and a bit more outlay of cash: skating

(image source)
Ed and I are perhaps the worst skaters in Canada.  Ed's power stop involves flopping onto the nearest snowbank.  I can skate in a pretty mean circle.  Forwards only.  My stop is better than Ed's; it's about 10% more graceful. 

This humiliation is something we'd like to spare our children.  So we are skating.  Step one was to find skates and not pay a fortune for them.

We had such great success at our local "Play It Again Sports".  (If you follow the link, you'll probably find one close to you.)  They had hundreds of pairs of used skates.  We found a nearly new pair for both kids.  They were marked at $19.99 each. 

We felt pretty good about that because we had done our research online and in the Canadian Tire flyer beforehand.  We knew that new skates would be at least twice that. 

But wait, there's more.  Sometimes we do smart things and this was one of those times: we brought along 2 pairs of outgrown skates (both hand me downs from our neighbours).  They gave us a credit for those skates of $7.50 each pair.  So, for about $30 (including tax) we had both kids outfitted for a family winter activity.

When the weather is right, there are a number of places to skate for free.  Our kids have a friend down the street and her dad has made a great rink. This is going to be great for the first few tries.  It can be intimidating to wobble around when there are bigger kids zipping past.  Once the kids gain some confidence we'll be heading down to our city's new outdoor rink downtown.

Now, we are completely clueless, anyone have tips on sharpening?

1 comment

  1. Hey, I think I have the same skating skills as you guys. Our kids skate well (so does hubby, he used to play hockey) after some time- we homeschool and many arena allow homeschool groups to attend the parent and tot skate times offered mid week at a local arena (not just the one nearest us- we've found this to be the case in surrounding communities, too). Really inexpensive- usually $2.50/kid and often waived by the arena attendant. This was an excellent opportunity for our kids to learn as the rink isn't busy like it is for public skates.
    At two different arenas, they allow the older kids to use half of the ice to play hockey (we are always just a handful of kids not entire teams) just a few kids taking shots on a goalie. My kids learned how to skate with a little extra support from the stick and how to manoeuvre and develop some grace while passing and blocking, etc. Not expert level by any means but their proficiency was noticeably accelerated when they started playing around with sticks and a puck. (Definitely learning to skate Canadian style). Neither of them play organized hockey (because we're on a budget and there isn't a frugal way to do that that I'm aware of) nor are they interested to do so but they both love this pick-up style of hockey with their friends. It just doesn't happen as often as they'd like.
    Enjoy your pursuit of winter sports (I like snowshoeing). Oh and yes, while crappy tire isn't the cheapest place for skates, skate sharpening there is pretty reasonable (like a few bucks)


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