The sport of ice skating is popular around the world, especially during the winter time. The indoor rink has made ice skating year-round a possibility, while many seasonal rinks will be implemented outdoors during the cooler months of the year. This winter sport has also established a name in Olympic sports. Many countries send athletes to the Olympics to compete in figure skating, ice dancing, speed skating and ice hockey.
The most important piece of equipment needed for ice skating is, of course, the skates. There are different types for the various kinds of skating, but all include shoes that provide strong support for the ankles. Ice skates usually have a single metal blade and will allow one to glide smoothly over an icy surface or frozen body of water such as a lake or pond.
Of course, frozen bodies of water also represent significant danger if one is not properly trained to recognize whether or not it is fully frozen. Often it requires many consecutive days of very cold temperatures to completely freeze a large lake or other body of water.
Natural bodies of water such as lakes and ponds used to be the only way to enjoy ice skating. Of course this meant that you could only skate in places where the temperature dropped below the freezing level for extended periods. But in the late 1870s, an indoor refrigerated ice rink was created in London, starting a new trend that immediately became popular all over the world. Since, many more rinks have popped up everywhere, and the development of the Zamboni machine for better ice maintenance has made indoor skating more feasible.
Many figure skaters have mastered complex techniques including spins and jumps. This makes skating more interesting and fun while still providing good exercise. While this sport is more difficult to learn than some, those who to learn it find that it is fun to enjoy either alone or with a group of friends.
Some areas of the world are more involved in the art and sport of ice skating than others are. In many places, ice skating is a part of the culture. Despite the availability of indoor rinks, people who live in colder climates still tend to appreciate ice skating and other winter sports more than those in warmer climates. There are some cities in which ice skating still serves as a mode of transportation. Certainly it’s more practical than walking if there’s ice in the streets! In Scandinavian countries almost everyone knows how to ice skate. It has long been a part of their culture and many people skate almost daily.
The holiday season is also synonymous with the sport of ice skating. It is a form of entertainment that many enjoy partaking in with friends and family. Outdoor rinks in areas decorated for the holidays, with music and Christmas shopping going on around you, can be especially festive. During the holidays you can find many places that hold entire outdoor fairs on ice, including hot cocoa and other toasty treats, games and a lot of holiday spirit.