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Inline secrets from the world's top skaters and coaches

This week's tip:

skater bundled up against the cold

Staying Warm - This skater at the 2007 Northshore Inline Marathon fortified himself against the cold with a headband and balaclava.
Photo: Darlene Prois

Cold Weather Skating
How to keep rolling year-round

By Kathy McSparran

Sometimes, it seems like Jack Frost has no regard for skaters. First he turns down the heat. Then he whittles away the daylight until there's nothing left but work hours and darkness.

But don't let old Jack keep you from skating. Holing up with a hot toddy and the channel changer may be seductive, but you'll lose all your hard-earned conditioning if you spend the winter months on the couch. Besides there's really no reason to quit rolling in the winter. ... To paraphrase the poet: Skate, skate against the shrinking of the light!

Below are some practical tips for rolling through the winter wonderland:

Keeping Warm

Hands and ears get colder quicker than other parts of your body. So keeping them warm is key to getting cozy with the cold.

To keep your hands warm, wear thin gloves under your wrist guards. For your ears, use a headband or earmuffs (under your helmet, of course).

Keep your gloves and headband stowed in your skate bag (toss in some lip balm, while you're at it ), and then — this is important! — toss your skate bag in the trunk of your car.

Now you'll be ready to roll whenever opportunity knocks. ... Got a patch of sunlight during your lunch break? Get out there and skate! There's nothing more refreshing than a mid-day workout. ... Did your client cancel that sales meeting? Roll, baby, roll! ... Did you work late Tuesday to finish a project? Start work late on Wednesday — after you go skating!

But I'll Get All Sweaty?

Not to worry. For one thing, it's cool outside, so you won't sweat as much as you would in warmer weather.

For another, you can always retreat to the office bathroom after your workout for a military-style "dry shower." All you need is a few moist towelettes (e.g., Wet Ones). Stow them in your skate bag. Then after your workout, use them to wipe yourself down.

You'll come out smelling as sweet as a ... uh ... moist towelette.

Other Options

If you can't find enough snow-free pavement to satisfy your need for speed, head to the nearest roller or ice rink.

Here's another option: organize a skate-friendly holiday for the family. Think Florida, Arizona, Southern California, Tahiti. If you're headed somewhere warm, bring your skates!

If you prefer, you can let someone else organize your winter skate vacation: Zephyr Adventures offers a 3-day and 5-day skate vacation in Florida in December (more info). And then there's the Great EsSkate in Miami Beach in February (Great EsSkate web site).


kathymcsparranKathy McSparran is director of the Phoenix Inline skate school and writes the Inline Planet's Skate Coach column. She holds five IISA teaching certifications: Level 1 (Beginners & Advanced Beginners), Level 2 (Intermediates & Advanced Intermediates), BladeFitnessTM, Freestyle Dance and Fitness Inline Trainer.

Kathy's Skate Coach archive

Related reading

Skate Tip of the Week Archive
Beginners Guide to Outdoor Racing
Beginners Guide to Inline Skating

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