Revised program connects students with 11 skate schools in the U.S.
The program that provides free inline skate lessons has survived the recent downsizing of the International Inline Skating Association (IISA), although in a different form and with a new sponsor.
The program will now connect prospective students with one of 11 inline skate schools in the United States. Students will be eligible for a free group or private lesson.
In the past, the freeskatelesson.com connected students with one of 70 participating inline instructors. The instructors provided students with a free group lesson or a "buy one, get one free" private lesson -- but not with a free private lesson.
The program was sponsored by IISA and Zephyr Adventures. But in December, IISA basically closed up shop (although its web site remains open), saying it had accomplished its mission of fostering the sport of inline skating.
Rollerblade Signs on as Sponsor
IISA's downsizing left the sponsorship of the Free Skate Lesson program in doubt. But Zephyr has continued as a sponsor, and Rollerblade has picked up the slack -- and is even providing the skate schools with fleets of skates, so students won't have to own skates to take lessons.
"The schools will have top of the line Rollerblade products for all who take lessons," said Rollerblade's Nick Skally.
Allan Wright, head of Zephyr, said the Free Lesson program may be expanded next year.
"To make sure each participating school was adequately supported with skates and PR help, we had to limit the number of schools or instructors giving free lessons," he said. But ... "if the program continues to do well in 2005, we hope to expand the number of schools (or instructors) in 2006."
All of the 11 schools in the program are in large metropolitan areas. The Free Skate Lesson web site apologizes to students who don't live near one of the participating schools and directs them to the online IISA directory of certified instructors.
Why Take a Lesson?
Here's Rollerblade's explanation of the program: "This initiative is part of Rollerblade's 25th anniversary efforts to spread the word that inline skating is a low impact, aerobic sport with a number of health benefits. In particular, many novice skaters find it difficult to brake or have trouble achieving an efficient stride. Now, with the Free Skate Lesson program, those who need a little help can get a free skating lesson in the local community from a qualified professional -- no strings attached."
Copyright © 2006 by Robert Burnson