After months and months and months of saving, and I do mean months, I finally have my brand new ice skates! My last boots were Harlick. I did not want to let them go as they were one of the first pair of ice skates I had ever owned. I have been in possession of them for over 10 years. They have done me well and I loved them. Or so I thought.
About a month and a half ago, I went to see Dave (pro shop dealer for figure skating apparel) about getting fitted for a new pair of boots. He has been selling ice skating boots for decades and was once a figure skater himself, so he knows exactly what he is talking about. In fact, he was the one who sold me my Harlicks over 10 years ago. Anyway, I told him that I wanted another pair of Harlicks but was willing to branch out if that meant saving money. My coach suggested Jackson boots, but I wasn't too sure about switching companies because I was completely satisfied with my Harlick boots already. He asked what my level was and how far I planned to progress and confirmed Linda's (my coach) suggestion about Jackson boots. A new pair of Harlick boots was going to be close to $650 maybe even $700. That is not including the blades. I asked about the price of the Jackson boots and he said close to $500. Obviously, I went with Jackson to save money. Once I saw them, I fell in love with them and my guilt for abandoning my loyalty poofed away. I tried a pair on and they felt great! I had never had such great support from figure skates before.
He took my measurements of my feet then told me that my Harlicks were one size too big. I was shocked. How could I have not known that they were too big? I have been using them for years. When he had originaly sold us the skates, (I think I was about 11 years old) he purposely gave me one size larger because he figured I would grow into them. Aparently, I did not. I had been using them ever since. The growth insole was still inside my skates and when he removed it, you could clearly see that there was about 1 inch from my toe to the top of the skate of room.
I emailed my coach that night about what Dave had said and her only response was, "That explains a lot." She told me to order the new skates as soon as possible as we could resume lessons.
Within the next couple of weeks, I had a job doing live sound for a high school play and the money I made from that was just the amount remaining that I needed to purchase the skates. I ordered them the next week.
A couple days go by and I receive a call from Dave, he tells me that my boots are on back order in Canada, and won't be in for about 8 weeks. That wasn't going to work for me because I would be leaving for Japan by that time. He said he would call back after he checked with some other dealers that he knew of in California. 10 minutes later he calls me back saying that white is not available but beige is, and that the support was 5 points less than the boots I ordered. The support level being slightly less was not a huge concern to me because either way, it was a huge improvement over my Harlicks. An 80 over an 85 is really not that big of a deal. It's not like I'm heading to the Olympics anytime soon. I asked if there was a price difference but he said not to worry about it and would give them to me at the quoted price. For some reason, beige skates are more expensive than white. I don't know why. I guess the time it takes the dye the skates maybe longer, but I don't know. I have always liked beige over white so I was really excited.
Within a week, they were in! I went to go pick them up and they looked amazing!! It has been a whilte since I have seen brand spanking new boots! I was at the pro shop for about an hour because they were heat molded to my feet, then the blade had to be mounted. I drove home talking to my skates as if they were a new pet. (Yes I already know I'm strange, there is no need to point it out later).
I called every ice rink I could find in AZ asking for their public skating times so that I could try them out. I couldn't wait! That same day of picking them up, went to an ice rink, tried on my new perfectly sized skates, and imediately felt the size difference on my feet. They also hurt right away too. The break in periods take a few weeks. I'm gonna have sore feet for a while. :( I planned on taking it pretty easy both for my feet, and the fact that these skates were 1 inch shorter than what I was already use to. I stepped out on the ice, and instantly I felt the difference. I almost had to grab the wall. My center of gravity was all thrown off. I didn't know one size could make such a huge difference. No wonder I was having such a hard time perfecting all of my moves before. After skating a couple of laps forward, I tried to go backwards some. Nope, not happening. At least, not where there were a lot of people. I moved to the middle of the ice and practiced doing all the very very VERY basic moves. I was put all the way back to the beginning. I attempted two-foot spins then a basic one-foot spin. I tried a sit spin, but when you have brand new skates with the stiffness of a block of wood, bending your knees is much easier said than done. So you can guess that the sit spin did not go very well. I thought I would try a couple of my favorite jumps and discovered that these new skates are much lighter in weight than my old ones. I popped right up the in air so easily it freaked me out. It was never so easy for me to do jumps. Now it happens without much effort. Jumping was always so hard for me but now after having been skating on them for a few days I have noticed how much more fluid and effortless my jumps have become. Today, I tried a back spin, which is spinning on the other foot, and it was so easy. No wobbles, no falling, there was absolutely no difficulty at all! I couldn't believe it! I thought it was a fluke so I tried it several times over and found that my new skates were making everything easier.
I should have gotten new skates years ago!!