Frequently Asked Questions

Skating is a fun activity, but it can all be a bit confusing, too.  If you can’t find your answer here, any of our Board Members would be happy to help.

I’m brand new to this.  How does it all work?

Skaters at SCNH are divided into two general groups:  Basic Skills and Freestyle.  Almost all skaters start in Basic Skills group lessons.  If your child has never skated before, sign them up for Basic Skills.

Basic Skills lessons are approximately 1 hr per week, and are offered for 10 week sessions on three different days: Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays.  Skaters have a 1/2 hour lesson with our professional coaches and the remaining time for independent practice.  Classes are divided by badge (skill level) first, and by age level if we have large groups.  Pre-school skaters (3-4), children (5-14) and adults (15+) have separate lesson groups.

For all group lessons, towards the end of each session, the coaches will test each skater on various skills.  If skaters demonstrate mastery of all badge level skills, they earn their badge and move on to the next level.

There are eight Basic Skills badges before a skater can choose to move into Freestyle.  Skaters can also remain in Badge Freeskate group lessons for up to 4 more levels – availability depends on the number and level of interested skaters.  This is a transition level between Basic Skills and Freestyle.

O.K., so what does Freestyle mean?

Freestyle is for more advanced and interested skaters – typically those who have taken all 8 Basic Skills badge levels.  As a Freestyle skater, skaters normally have weekly private lessons and are skating 2-3 times per week.  They might travel to competitions and test sessions.

While the Basic Skills skaters are divided by badge number (1 – 8), freestyle skaters are ranked low, middle and high.  To move to the next level, skaters need to be tested by a USFS judge.

At this level, there is less group structure.  Skaters purchase ice time to use as they see fit, whether its for lessons with their coach, working on their moves, or practicing a routine.  SCNH offers one group Style class for all freestyle skaters each week.

What does it cost and when are the classes?

The club charges a small annual administrative fee for each skater.

Basic skills skaters pay a flat fee for each 10 week session (this includes a 1/2 hour lesson, practice time and any other organized activities during the session).  The Fall session runs from the end of September to the middle of December.  The Winter session runs from early January through the end of March.

Freestyle skaters purchase an ice contract for the entire skating season (Sept – March)based on their test level.

Fees are set annually, based on ice costs, coaches fees and club administration costs. Please see our brochure for up to date fees and schedule information. (put links here)

Sounds like fun!  Are adult classes available?

When there is sufficient interest we are able to run adult group sessions as well.  Please contact one of our Board Members for more information.

What do I need to know about skates?

For beginners, almost any skates  with strong ankle-support should be fine.  Reasonably priced new and used skates are available from various local retailers.  During lesson registration, the club has some used member consignment skates available, as well as order forms from Sk8ter’s Moon.

Occasionally (in-season) recreational level skates can be found at Herb Philipson’s, Dick’s and Play It Again – we have found that quality varies widely at these locations.

For more advanced and serious skaters, club skaters use some of the following sources for figure skates:

Sk8trs Moon at the Clinton Arena, M&M Skaterwear in Camillus, Archie Burton at Bikes & Boards on Commercial Drive, Dick Mckai at the Syracuse fairgrounds.

As for what kinds of skates…we recommend figure skates for all beginner skaters.  While a Basic Skills skater can get by with hockey skates, ankle- support and blade movement is different.  Having a toe pick can also be reassuring for beginners.

Figure skates have a single, flatter blade with a toe pick, and are better suited to the various moves the skaters will be learning.  Hockey skates have rounded blades and do not have a toe pick.  They are great for hockey.  Skaters who learn the basics in figure skates can easily move on to skating well in hockey skates.

Keep in mind new skates must be sharpened before use, and resharpened periodically as well.  Andy Anguish (725-1162) and Mark Kotary (797-7825) are two nearby options.  This guide explains proper care and maintenance of your skates.

How should skaters dress?  And what about protective gear?

All skaters should wear gloves and dress appropriately for the temperature.  Their clothes should be warm enough so the child is comfortable on the ice, yet not be too restrictive.  Layers on top is a good idea. Sweat pants or leggings are good; jeans can be too tight, as well as cold.

Other than gloves for our Basic Skills skaters, no other equipment is required.  Some of our youngest skaters wear bicycle or hockey helmets when getting started.  Elbow and knee pads are available from various sources as well.

My child is near completion of Basic Skills and wants to continue on to freestyle.  How do I find a coach?

Many of our Professionals offer private lessons, and they are all excellent coaches.  The selection process is NOT about whether or not one coach is better than another.  Rather, its about finding a coach who is the best match for your child’s skating goals.  This guide offers some advice about how to choose a skate coach.

How do private lessons work?

That’s up to you and the coach!  Pricing, scheduling, frequency, etc., are private arrangements between the coach and skater.  Please talk with the individual coaches about specifics.

The club tries to have an informational meeting for parents  and skaters during both the Fall and Winter sessions, but you can always talk with a Board member or monitor if you have general questions.

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