2006 Great EsSkate
The Great EsSkate is tweaking its format in an effort to make itself more attractive to new skaters.
For the first time next year, "No Sweat" routes will be offered for each of the daily group skates, said Gene Cook, one of the event organizers.
The No Sweat routes will cover relatively short distances (five to eight miles) and eschew both traffic and hills. Inline instructors will lead the skates and provide free braking clinics.
"In the past, we have found that some of our group skates have intimidated newer skaters, so we wanted to have something that would be more comfortable for them," Cook said.
Group skates are a major feature of the Great EsSkate, a skate weekend that draws about 400 skaters annually, mostly from the United States, but also from Canada and Europe.
Under the new format, skaters will get to pick from three different routes for the daily group skate: No Sweat, I Got a Life, or Bring It On.
The "I Got a Life" routes are designed for experienced skaters who want to skate longer distances but not at the expense of other Great EsSkate attractions. The routes will cover 12 to 17 miles. Participants will return from the Saturday group skate with plenty of time to enjoy the beach picnic in the afternoon.
The "Bring It On" routes are designed for advanced skaters who want to go long and hard. They will cover distances of 17 miles or more.
The new new format is expected to reduce some of the stalls at the front of the group skates as the leaders wait for the stragglers to catch up, Cook said.
"In past years, we've been called the Great EsSkate and Wait," Cook said. "But with the new format, the experienced skaters won't have to wait as much."
Miami Beach police will escort the group skates; which will be lead by members of the National Skate Patrol. Cyclist are welcome.
The Great EsSkate includes skate tours, a dinner (Friday night), assorted bar-hopping and a skate expo. Once again this year, an architecture buff will lead skaters on the Art Deco skate of Miami Beach.
The event, which is in its eighth year, is Feb. 8-10, 2008 in Miami Beach.
Early registration is $89 (USD). Rooms at the host hotel, the Continental, are $139 a night.
Copyright © 2007 by Robert Burnson