Safe Ice Skating: Tips

Woolen hats and gloves instead of helmets and wrist guards: not everything that is known from inline skating to protect against falls can be transferred to the ice. And falling must also be learned

As soon as a lake is officially approved for ice skating in winter, many people lace up their ice skates - some perhaps for the very first time, others for the first time after a long period of time. But beginners and re-entrants in particular tend to fall over and should therefore protect themselves well.

But you shouldn't make one big mistake: Put protective covers with plastic covers over your clothes. "That is very dangerous. If you fall on the ice with it, the schooners slip away immediately and you fall on your face," warns Nicole Brünner from the German Ice Skating Union. She advises you to put flexible protectors, which you know from volleyball or handball, under your clothes.

Not on the ice without gloves

Wrist protectors such as inline skating are also unsuitable for ice skating because of the plastic shells - thick ski gloves are better here, according to Brünner. They not only cushion the impact in the event of a fall, but also protect the fingers from injuries caused by runners if you fall. "Nobody should go on the ice without gloves like this", emphasizes the expert, "especially not in the children's area".

Brno is ambivalent about helmets. Although they protect the head, they can injure other ice skaters in the face in collisions. Anyone who wears a helmet should at least make sure that it is rounded and has no sharp edges. From Brno's point of view, the best solution is thick woolen hats. They also dampen the
Impact, pose no danger to others and keep your head warm.

How do you actually fall correctly?

It is important to let yourself fall forward as much as possible in the event of a fall. "The ice is slipping. This means that the danger to the wrists when falling is not as great as when inline skating on asphalt," says the assistant to the national junior coach. It is ideal if you can roll over your shoulders. But that only works intuitively if you have learned how to fall properly, adds Brünner.

The fact is, falling backwards is the worst option. You can injure your tailbone and your head. "It then falls backwards like a swinging club," warns Brünner.

Tips to get you started

For beginners, unlike artificial ice surfaces, frozen lakes offer no borders or boundaries to hold onto. The expert therefore advises you to take a sledge with you: "You can push it in front of you to get a feel for the ice first."

At the beginning you should sit on the ice once and then get into the four-legged position. From this position you try to get up. "The hands go up last," is how Brünner describes the movement. If you have practiced getting up, this gives you security. If you then stand on the runners, you should take it slowly. Stomp and put a lot of pressure on the skate - this is how you slowly get going.

It is also important for safety that there is no risk of breaking into the ice. According to the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, ice surfaces should only be entered when the ice layer is 15 centimeters thick. With flowing water it should be at least 20 centimeters. Ice skaters should pay attention to warning signs and, if in doubt, ask the municipality again whether an ice surface has already been cleared.