Q:  Are ice skates provided?
A:  Yes, ice skates are provided for use at the rink during your skating lessons.  The skates must be returned at the end of each class.  If you have not worn skates before, please arrive at least 20 minutes early to your first class to make sure you have enough time to find skates that fit properly.
Q:  Do I need to buy ice skates?
A:  You do NOT need to buy skates.  You are welcome to use the skates that are available at the rink during classes. We have sizes from Toddler 6 through Adult Men's 13.
Q: I want to have my own skates. What skates should I buy?
A: There are 2 main types of skates: Hockey skates and figure skates
  • Hockey skates: these skates have a blade that is the same length as the foot/boot and has a distinct and visible curve (called rocker) from the front to the back of the skate.  This allows for quick turns and movements during hockey game play.
    • If you wish to purchase hockey skates, we recommend being professionally fitted based on your foot shape.  Bauer, Easton, CCM are all popular brands and each have broad price ranges and fits.
  • Figure skates: these skates have a blade that has less curve (rocker) from front back and the blade extends slightly behind the heel of the boot.  This shape of blade allows for edge control and longer edge holds.  Another prominent feature of figure skates is the toepick located at the front of the skate.  The toepick is used during certain types of jumps; it is not a brake.
    • If you wish to invest in figure skates, we recommend Jackson or Riedell brand skates that have been properly and professionally sized and fitted to your skater.
    • Another option is the long-term rental program available through Crossovers Pro Shop, located within Madison Ice Arena.  These skates are yours to take with you and can be turned in for a larger size whenever you skater’s feet grow.  Send an email to fsrental@crossoversproshop.com for more information or to schedule a fitting.
  • Please refrain from buying adjustable skates or any recreational skate brands (including DBX, American Athletic Shoe, Lake Placid) or any skates that include "recreational" in the description. Skates that have buckles or Velcro are also not a good idea as these will not provide the proper support or blade needed.
Q: Once I have purchased/rented skates, how do I take care of them?
A: Once you buy or rent a pair of skates (hockey or figure skates) it is important to take care of them properly in order to keep them in good shape and ensure they last a long time.
For each skating session:

1)   Hard guards go on immediately after taking skates out of your bag, prior to putting the skates on your feet. Use hard guards to walk to rink door and then take them off.  At the end of the session, put them back on right when you step off the ice.  

2)  Once the skates come off, the hard guard is removed and the skate blade must be wiped off (an old towel works fine). Do not store your skates with the hard guards on your blades.

3)  Always store your skates with soft blade covers or soakers to protect the blades from getting chipped and your skates from being cut by the blades.  

Skaters will need Hard Guards, Soft Guards (Soakers), a Towel, and Regular Skate Sharpenings.
  • Hard Guards: Used only for walking around OFF the ice and should not be left on the skates when they are being stored as they hold moisture next to the blade.  They are very important to protect the blades and keep them in top condition between sharpenings.  
  • Towel/chamois: For wiping off blades after skating and before putting soakers on. Terry cloth hand towels work well.  
  • Soft Guards (aka Soakers): Soakers are soft fabric covers for the blades that help wick moisture off the blades after skating and keep them (and your skates) protected while in a skate bag. 
  • Skate bag: There are several types of bags that are specialized for figure skates (Transpak and Zuca are the most popular), but any bag will do as long as it has room for your skates, guards, towel, hair ties, water bottle, tights and anything else you need.  Many skaters use small wheeled suitcases or .
  • Skate Sharpenings: Skates should be sharpened every 30 hours of skating. Skating sharpening can be done at Crossovers ProShop located in Madison Ice Arena or Edge Works at 5 Wilton Ct. Madison, WI 53704. If you are investing in figure skates we recommend going somewhere that has an experienced person to sharpen figure skates.
Q: Can my child use double bladed skates during class?
A: NO! Double bladed skates do not let your child learn to skate just like training wheels on a bike don't teach a child to ride.  With 2 parallel blades they can not use the edges of the skates and that is what allows them to learn all the skills required for ice skating.
Q:  The ice skates hurt my feet.  What should I do?
A:  Ice skates do not feel like shoes and are known to feel tight and stiff when first learning to skate.  If you try a pair of skates and they are pinching your feet or causing them to cramp, please try a different/larger pair.  The skates should not be so big that your feet move around inside the skate and should be snug on your foot without pain.