EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU)— Ice skating is a fun winter sport, but without learning the basic skills and dressing properly, it can be dangerous.
There are a couple of indoor ice skating rinks in Luzerne County, but only one outdoor rink and that’s on the Public Square. Eyewitness News stopped by the venue on a very cold afternoon as lessons were taking place.
“I have two shirts, a sweatshirt, and four layers,” said Jimmy Corcoran.
Eight-year-old Jimmy Corcoran of Exeter was prepared for this blustery cold day. The temperature was 23 degrees but felt even colder with the wind chill.
He’s one of several people taking ice skating lessons on the ice rink on Public Square in downtown Wilkes Barre.
“I like gliding,” says Corcoran.
“You have to go where there’s supervision and you have to be safe,” said Karel Zubris.
Karel Zubris has been an ice skating instructor for 30 years and sees firsthand the dangers of hitting the ice unprepared.
“It’s very dangerous it breaks my heart every time a learn to skate program is essential, you go out there rogue and you’re gonna end up with a serious injury I’ve seen too many head injuries,” Zubris told Eyewitness News.
That’s why Karel always recommends a helmet for beginners as well as a checklist of other things to keep you warm.
“Two mittens in case they get wet, waterproof gloves, hat, extra hat, goodies, water, a blanket, and a towel to wipe skates down,” added Zubris.
Hand warmers help too, it’s important to dress in layers and cover all exposed areas of your skin. Frostbite can set in at 31 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Your skin will turn red and feel cold to the touch. It will appear pale and feel numb, hard or have a prickling sensation, If this occurs seek warmth.
This ice rink on Public Square will be up through March it’s free to the public, as well as, the ice skates.
“Last year we didn’t have skates we decided to purchase them skates this year, and now we can let people use them as long as they want to skate just bring them back,” explained George Brown, Mayor of Wilkes-Barre.
You should make sure the skates fit properly, also, practice falling so you can get an idea of how to brace yourself to avoid breaking any limbs and keep a space between you and other skaters.
Bottom line? Gear up, stay aware, and be safe.