The Hippo


Jul 15, 2019








Local ice skating arenas

• Conway Arena, 8 Riverside St., Nashua, 595-2400,

• Cyclones Arena, 20 Constitution Drive, Hudson, 880-4424,

• Everett Arena, 15 Loudon Road, Concord, 228-2784,

• F. MacMorran Field House, School Lane, Tilton, 286-4342

• Gordon Memorial Rink & Ingalls Rink, 325 Pleasant St., Concord, 229-4700

• The Ice Center, 60 Lowell Road, Salem, 893-4448,

• Ice Den, 600 Quality Drive, Hooksett, 668-0795,

• JFK Memorial Coliseum, 303 Beech St., Manchester, 624-6329

• Laconia Ice Arena, 468 Province Road, Laconia, 528-0789,

• Lee Clement Arena, 29 Bridge St., Henniker, 428-8231

• The Rinks at Exeter, 40 Industrial Drive, Exeter, 775-7423,

• Tri-Town Ice Arena, 311 W. River Road, Hooksett, 485-1100,

• West Side Ice Arena, 1 Electric St., Manchester, 624-6428

Glide into shape
Ice skating is for everyone


When Jen Hurley teaches ice skating, the first challenge she issues her students is to sit down on the ice and try to get up, “so they know how to get up after they fall.” She then teaches students how to skate the width of the rink and to glide on both feet, before progressing to backward skating and gliding on one foot.

“Adults are very analytical, as opposed to kids. With kids you tell them what to do and they just do it,” said Hurley, who has been figure skating for more than 35 years and has been a figure skating instructor for 18. She has been the skating director at Tri-Town Ice Arena in Hooksett since 2001.

“With adults it’s like, ‘Well, wait a minute, what do you mean?’ They’re thinking that could result in a broken wrist or broken hip. Then tend to over-analyze it a little bit,” she said.

Hurley has also noticed that adults bring a sense of humor to the sport.

“You can’t take everything too seriously,” she said.

New adult ice skaters are often at a point in their lives where they need to escape for an hour occasionally or they are empty-nesters looking to pick up a new hobby, Hurley said.

“They just want to use it as ‘their’ time,” she said. “A lot of people say they have always wanted to do this. They figure, why not? Life’s too short. I should give it a try.”

Group and private lessons are offered for children and adults at most ice arenas, sometimes year-round. Hurley said she sees as many adult students in private skating classes as she does children.

“I teach all of the same things but it’s very different,” she said. “Sometimes it’s like a therapy session for adults. They can solve all the world’s problems and family problems in that half hour, too.”

Ice skating, Hurley noted, is a good activity for goal-oriented people.

“It’s a challenge,” she said. “One day you will be frustrated and the next day you will be [Olympic gold medalist] Michelle Kwan.”

Skating around an ice rink is also a good alternative to working out or walking the treadmill at the gym, she said.

“It’s learning something new, keeping the body and mind sharp; it’s coordination,” she said of the sport. “Instead of jogging down the road or going to the gym, you can have fun at the rink.”

Hurley noted that skating is definitely a cardiovascular activity.

“If you’re skating for an hour vigorously, you’re lucky be making it to that hour,” she said, adding that beginner skaters might not be gliding around the ice too fast but will notice they are using muscles they might not have known they even had.

“You will be taking Advil for a week after,” she said. “No matter what level you’re at, you can push it and you’re going to be sore.” The soreness goes away when strength is developed in those muscles, Hurley added.

For those not ready to invest in the sport (boot and blade sets for beginner and intermediate skaters can run between $100 and $300), rental skates are available for a nominal fee at most ice arenas. Many also offer blade sharpening services.

For those looking to take their figure skating beyond the basic skills, a national competition is held annually for skaters of all ages and levels, including a master level for adults.

“These people are … 50 years old and are still doing double axels and stuff,” Hurley said. “It’s crazy. [Skating] is something you can do forever. … I have a student who is 70 here in Hooksett who does national competitions for USFS [United States Figure Skating] and the ISI [Ice Skating Institute]. She’s strong. She’s unbelievable, too.”

“It all about what you want to do with it, how far you want to take it,” she said. “There are definitely places you can go or you could do it once a week for a half hour and putz around. You get out of it what you put into it.”
Hurley noted that 30-minute-long classes are a good way to get introduced to the sport, especially for those traveling a long way to try it out. Hurley sees skaters from as far as Newburyport, Mass., and Hampton at the Hooksett arena.

“It really is a lifelong sport,” she said. “You don’t have to be 10 to be doing it. You can be 110. If you can still walk, you can still skate.”

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