Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

My adventures as an adult male figure skater in Tucson, Arizona Portland, Oregon Chandler, Arizona.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mazurka, Mohawks

I had a lesson with Sonya on the 7 a.m. FS at Mountain View (Vancouver, WA).  It was a bit of a trek but I managed to get there at 6:30 and warm up a bit.  While I was warming up I had a dumb fall (not bad) on... a salchow, I think.

Today's lesson:
  • Mazurka -- I wanted to work on the mazurka since I felt very insecure about it.  We worked it on the boards and then out on the ice and voila!  Success.  So then we put it in combination with the waltz jump since that what JJ wanted... and success also!  So then of course Sonya wanted to try tacking on a half flip, and that was not so great.  She wanted it from an LFO3 but I have done it from a mohawk so it was throwing me to try a different entrance.  We played with it a bit more, then moved on.
  • mohawk -- Sonya wanted to work with me on these a bit.  She grabbed the evil hockey stick (shades of JJ!) and made me try to keep it inside the circle during the mohawk.  Eeep.   I think we made it a little better/smoother but it's still not so great.
It was a great lesson!  I was amused because Sonya said that I fall "differently" now.  I asked what she meant and she said that when she first met me I tended to fall in slow motion and slide on the ice, but now this was more abrupt.  I'm not sure if that's good or bad :-) but I think it's really a function of what I was doing when I fell.  Anyway it was interesting.

Alas, while it was a great lesson, I probably should not have gone.  I was feeling a bit ill Monday, and now I really feel ill, so I think I pushed it too much on my trip. Oh well.

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Patch Perseverance

I skated Chandler coffee club for patch practice.  Warmed up as usual, laid out FO8, FI8, and waltz-8.  Spent most of my time (only 45 min) on the waltz-8.  Ugh.  Fixed some issues with my returning to the wrong center, but then went on to work on my step forward without much success.  Finished up with serpentines but they were not so great.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Preliminary Test, Serpentines

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  For some reason we were on the South Pole today.  Ice was freshly surfaced and really nice, but session was a bit crowded (something like 12 or 13 skaters including 2 ice dancers).  I warmed up with edges, scribed my circles, and did the Preliminary figures.

Today's lesson:
  • Preliminary test -- FO8 okay although I had some issues with the L foot.  My pushes are still not lining up very well although I did make some correction/improvement after the first.  FI8 was just okay -- I am widestepping the push on to the LFI a bit. Waltz-8 we spent more time on.  I fixed my tracing of the (scribed) circle so it was not so bad.  The 3s were pretty nice, but the step forward was lacking (though the edge is a bit better).
  • serpentines -- a bit better.  Pushes were a bit stronger by my edge quality after the change of edge was lacking -- I was a bit forward on my blade and lost too much momentum.  Grr.

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My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert.  I warmed up by working through what I have of the program.  In the process I managed to have a rather nasty backward fall (OOH I hate those!), no real damage just a little bang-up to my L arm and I bit my tongue a little (no blood though).  Grrr.  Oh well.  I also spent some time working on the RFI spiral.  Yikes.  For some reason it's a lot harder for me to get my leg up in that position.  It's partly that I'm not used to doing them on my R foot.

For today's lesson we didn't really do any new choreography but we worked through what we have somewhat and JJ worked with me on two elements he wants to add: a mazurka and a lunge with arm movements.  The mazurka is really just like a backward bunny hop... and we know how much I love bunny hops (NOT!).  I think the conclusion was that we'll use that in combination with the waltz jump.  The lunge is okay but adding the arm gestures made it hard to keep the free leg back.  Ulp.

Anyway it's coming along okay.  One lesson with JJ next week as I am traveling (but I'll have one with Sonya as well!).

Also, I met with the costumer last night and we talked through my costume.  It's going to be uber-great!  Unfortunately it will require a lot of hand dyeing and such so it will be a bit pricey, but it should be really awesome. I'm excited.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014


My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert.

Today we continued working on choreography for the new FS.  After the footwork section we have a couple of back crossovers, step forward, FI spiral (eek, that will mean R foot!), mohawk, BXO, waltz jump, then down the ice w/some kind of footwork (TBD) into a spin.  So we have about a minute done.

Another lesson in the a.m.; tonight I'm meeting with the costumer.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Preliminary Test, BI8, Serpentines

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  I had a short warmup due to a work commitment.

Today's lesson:
  • Preliminary test -- as usual lately, we ran through the test figures, staggering the layouts. FO8 was pretty good, FI8 also good.   Waltz-8 I kept getting confused as to where I was, exactly -- I kept coming back to the wrong center.  So we moved the waltz-8 to the scribed circles and that helped a lot.  Not much progress here, though.
  • BI8 -- about the same as before.  I worked on getting a shorter and more aggressive first push... I am using too little of my blade so I am leaving some power behind.  RBI was a bit weak.
  • serpentines -- mmph.  About the same.  Worked on getting more power, better push.  I need to work on not anticipating the change of edge and making it quicker.

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My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert.  Unfortunately there was an issue and we had a very short lesson.  Before that I worked a bunch on spins, salchow, and running the little bit of the new program that we have done.

Today's lesson was just spins.  I was very frustrated that I keep dropping my R shoulder when I step in to the spin and JJ had me really work to keep the R side up.  I actually was able to do this!  That was very encouraging.  I was still having issues with bringing the free leg around too quickly and we made some progress on that but not much.

Next week we will have two lessons so hopefully we can get the new program well in hand.  I'm also meeting with the costumer on Monday to get moving on getting something figured out.

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Monday, January 13, 2014

FO Mohawk, Salchow

I had a lesson with Sonya on the WSC public this afternoon.  Unlike last month the session was full ice, which really helped.

Today's lesson:
  • FO mohawk -- JJ had wanted to work on "transitions" but when I showed Sonya the opening of the new program she realized that JJ really wanted an LFO mohawk but let me do an LFI mohawk because I've not learned an FO mohawk.  So we worked on the LFO mohawk a bit.  We actually made some progress!  Biggest problem is that when I try to turn my upper body I tend to lean out of the circle (gee, where else have I seen that? :-( ) which pulls me off the edge.  Still, it wasn't actually too scary which was nice.
  • salchow -- we spent a bunch of time on this.  The entry improved a lot, but I'm still really struggling to bend the skating knee and really bring the free leg around/through if I actually make myself try to jump at the correct time.  Still need a lot of work on these but I'm grateful for the progress we made.

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Preliminary Test, BO8, BI8

My figures lesson with Lynne.  Due to scheduling issues we were at the Gilbert coffee club.

I warmed up with edges, scribed my circles, and did some FO8 before we started.

Today's lesson:
  • Preliminary test -- as we have the last few lessons, we laid out FO8, FI8 and waltz-8 on staggered circles (same long axis). FO8 was really good!  FI8 pretty good as well. Waltz-8 was a little better.  We spent some more time on them trying to get me stand up straighter on the BO edge and not push too hard, also Lynne cautioned me to hold the exit from the 3 a bit longer on the LFO3.
  • BO8 -- these were really good!  The best I've ever done, I think.  Very controlled, reasonably good tracing. I was pretty happy with them.  Next I can start working on making my pushes smaller/quicker.
  • BI8 -- mmph.  I struggled a bit with the R side to fill out the circle. The L side was actually pretty good.  Lots more to do here.

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Thursday, January 09, 2014

Polar Ice Chandler -> Ice Den Chandler

It's official as of today, the Ice Den took possession of the Chandler rink and it's now Ice Den Chandler.

The press release on their website doesn't say much, naturally.  The staff is in the middle of figuring out what's what so answers are not particularly forthcoming at this time.  It appears likely that they will honor the existing passes but I'm guessing they will cease selling them (Mine expires 7/5, I believe).  As for changes to schedule, etc. it's all to be determined.  Still, long term I think this is a good thing.  The Ice Den folks obviously know how to run a rink and make it a success, and the press release suggests a willingness to invest in the facility and programs.  Yes, prices may increase, and probably things will be tightened up a bit -- but if it means the rink will stay in business for a long time, then I'm all for it.

Here's an excerpt:

CHANDLER, Ariz. –January 9, 2014 -- The family, who owns the highly popular and successful Ice Den in North Scottsdale, and brought NHL hockey to Arizona, has purchased the Polar Ice facility in Chandler.

"We are thrilled to have acquired the Chandler facility. Our initial efforts will be focused on revitalizing the business and the facility and getting to know the community and our customers. We will invest the necessary resources and capital to build consistently high quality hockey and skating programs, as we have at our North Scottsdale location, which is utilized annually by over one million people. We are fortunate to have a highly experienced management team who has been with us since the Ice Den opened in 1997. They know how to grow and operate high quality, successful hockey and skating programs, and I am confident they will do so in Chandler,” said Taylor Burke, who is President of Rainy Partners, the owner of the Ice Den facilities in Scottsdale and now Chandler.

The Arizona Republic has an article about the sale, also.

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice.  Warmed up with edges and Preliminary test as usual.... then more time on waltz-8.

From there I worked on "everything else".  BO8 was pretty good actually; although I may actually be going to fast by the time I get to the last circles on each side.  BI8 is coming along nicely though I still need to get my circles larger.  Serpentines... I actually made it around a complete set and restarted! Although my first full circle on the R foot was a bit small, and I was helped out on the LFO circle by a significant downhill in the ice. Still, pretty awesome. Last was 3s to center... mmph.  I am getting better flow through the 3s now but still not holding that BI edge out.  Grr.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014


My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert.

We started choreography for the free skate today!  Finally!

We only got through about 20s or so, though, just the intro.  It's all footwork.  Urp.  I am not comfortable with this so I'm really going to have to practice it a lot.  Basically:

  • start w/funky pose (L foot back w/toe in ice, R arm extended, L arm over chest)
  • push to left
  • RFI mohawk w/arms (eventually!)
  • LFI mohawk
  • BXO
  • step forward
  • LFO3
  • step forward
  • RFI3
  • step forwrd
All around a big circle.  We have a bunch of arm movements to add also.  Hey, we have 2 months! Eeep.

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Tuesday, January 07, 2014


I skated the Chandler coffee club today for freestyle practice.  I spent the first half on moves, including the lovely power-3s (not so lovely, really), BO edges to landing position etc.  They were pretty rusty.

The second half I worked on salchow, spins, and a little time on toe loop and backspin.  Spins are really bad right now and salchows are not much better, but for not having skated freestyle for 1.5 weeks I guess I get what I get.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club today for patch practice.  Warmed up with edges, then ran through FO8, FI8 and waltz-8.  I noticed my FI8 circles are rather smaller than my FO8... hmm. :-(.  Waltz-8 was about as crappy as usual.

After beating my head on that for a while I went on and worked on BO8, serpentines and 3s to center.  Just for grins I re-oriented my BO8 to make my long axis parallel to the short end of the rink instead of the sides of the rink.  Whoa!  Totally weirded me out.  I went ahead and played with it for a while just to see if I could get it better.  It did a bit.  Hmm.  Serpentines were about the same as Friday; I worked some on trying to get a better push and I did make some progress.  Finished up with 3s to center, 3s are okay but still no progress on the BI edge after.  Grrr.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Preliminary Test, BO8, Serpentine

I had my figures lesson with Lynne on the Gilbert coffee club.  We rescheduled due to the holiday.

Today's lesson:
  • Preliminary test -- as usual lately, we ran through FO8, FI8 and waltz-8, staggering the layouts.  FO8 was mostly okay.  FI8 okay although I still need to work on evening-up my pushes so they are the same on each side.  Waltz-8, about the same... bleah.
  • BO8 -- pretty good, really.  The first RBO was a bit slow and not as well controlled as I'd like but after that they were pretty good.  Still need to watch the LBO that I don't cut in on the return to center though.
  • serpentines -- ugh.  Didn't get around at all and my changes of edge were a bit diagonal :-(.

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