Tips for first-time figure skating spectators
As mentioned in a thread in the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships forum, I'm flying out to Colorado this weekend to go watch the Ladies' and Men's Free Skating.
As this will be my first ever figure skating competition, I figured that I'd make a thread for you spectating veterans to give me -- and any other first-time figure skating spectators moving forward -- tips on how to make the most of my experience.
The main thing I would advise is don't be afraid to talk to people! I'm not sure this is exactly what you are asking or if you are asking how best to enjoy the skating, but seriously, talk to anyone you can. I was really shy at the first events I went to and I regret this a lot now as really, a lot of people there are (at least temporary if not more lasting) friends waiting to happen.
Originally Posted by SerpentineSteps
But on the other hand, don't talk to people when someone's skating, it can be annoying, lol.
Originally Posted by tulosai
Originally Posted by jettasian
Off the ice
Rooting for the divas with Kwanford
If I were going, I would take a lot of little stuffed animals or flowers and toss them down for as many skaters as I could afford to. (I'm not sure where this stuffed animal thing came from, but it seems to be what's expected... or permitted.)
I always try to go to as many practice sessions as I can. They are entertaining in their own right, and it helps me to know what to look for in the actual performances.
I heartily second Buttercup's point number two. Cheer as loud as you can for everybody!
Constable , Costume Police
Dress for comfort..it's a long day in the stands. Yes , cheer , applaud ( you'll want to anyway ).. but it doesn't hurt to take a noisemaker to spell yourself off..I've come home with bruised hands, and my rings bent onto my fingers.. Have a blast !
And dress in layers -- it might be cold in the arena, or it might not. How close to the ice you're sitting and how many other spectators are present in that area can make a difference.
I would suggest dressing in comfortable layers. Some rinks are colder than others, and the temperature will vary according to whether the rink is full of spectators or empty. Layering allows you to take off or add layers depending on those temperature variations.
Your first day there, check on the rink’s re-entry policy. You may need to leave the facility to eat between events. Some rinks have a no re-entry without stamp policy, and it’s good to know what it is before you screw up and can’t get back in.
If you can take (read “smuggle”) food into the rink, I would suggest water, fresh fruit, other high energy foods that are self contained.
I echo what everybody else has already stated.
Lol I recall this one time I took my mom & me to see Rosalynn Sumners skate here in Seattle (she's from nearby Edmonds btw) and my gosh the cold. Neither of us expected to be that cold, but then again we were literally sitting on the ice with a group of others that also got on-ice seats. Holy cow, I don't think I've ever been that cold in my life, it took many many cups of hot chocolate for both of us to de-ice, and for me to feel my feet again so I could drive.
Btw, I had warned my baby niece about the cold when I took her to her first f.s. competition, but she didn't listen, and ended up freezing to death and asking to borrow my gloves, blanket, and thick fur coat. :D
Still, Worlds in Bern? sounds the worst, from all that I read, and which brought about the new ISU Proposal about the rink needing to be heated. However, when one thinks of what the spectators had to put up with during Sonja Henie's day, that is skating outside in rain or shine or snow, whatever we have to put up with today doesn't even come close.
And bring plenty of presents for your favorite skater(s).
Wicked Yankee Girl
All good suggestions!
A few others:
Rink chairs are fairly bearable, but if you are going to a competition like Liberty that has only bleacher seating, take something soft (and warm ) to sit in, or you'll wind up with a pleat in your seat.
Stay standing at the top of your section if you're coming back from the bathroom or concession stands until after the skater on the ice (if there is one) has finished their program. You don't want to distract them, or be rude to the other spectators.
If you are going to use a digital camera to take photos, bring lots of batteries-they run out faster in the cold.
If you are at a competition where it is OK to take videos, be sure to bring enough video cards. Check between warm up groups to be sure you have space for a whole warmup group. It's very difficult to change between skaters without missing parts of a program.
NO FLASH BULBS. EVER. AT ANY COMPETITION. Make sure you know what the camera policy is before you take one to the competition at all.
If you have hockey boards up at your competition, try to sit high up and avoid focusing through the glass. The glass will give you a different focus setting than no glass a step later. Fiddle with the settings on your camera for the best settings.
If you need a wheelchair or scooter, there are companies that you can find on line who will rent you one & deliver it to your hotel lobby, and in some cases, even to your hotel room.
Remember that for the Qualifying Round or SP, if you don't know the order of skate ahead of time, make sure to be in time to see the first couple of skaters. (At Europeans, that would have been Plushy! ) The first skaters are often more fun that you would think, in any case.
Check people's advice at GS about the arena you are going to. They often have great advice because they have been there before. If you have spare time at Colorado Springs, don't miss the cliff dwellings that are nearby.
If you're driving to the rink, check whether you have to pay for a parking pass, particularly if you want to succeed in parking in handicapped parking. This was a huge big deal last years at Nationals in Greensboro, NC. Get the pass early! They sell out quickly.
If you're planning on taking a shuttle, the last week before your trip, call the hotel and ask whether the shuttle really exists. Sometimes they turn out to be only for skaters, or don't exist at all.
You may be unable to get dinner that you can eat at some rinks. When you get home from the rink, you may be too tired to go out on the town. Before you book check that your hotel has room service, and check that room service will be open at the time you project to be back from the rink.
Some rink food is better than you might think! The food at Liberty is edible! Such a surprise.
Bathrooms. There is often a line at the ladies room that goes around the block if the event is well attended. Try to schedule a bathroom break or food break for less busy times.
That's all I can think of now.
NAY on the noisemaker. There's nothing more irritating or more harmful than someone sitting right behind you making frequent use of a noisemaker or screaming for his/her favorite skater at the top of his/her lungs. Excessive volume can exceed 100 decibels; continued exposure is damaging to the human ear.
Originally Posted by colleen o'neill
Don't forget some panties
Originally Posted by Spun Silver
Will Chan skate at 4cc?
Originally Posted by jettasian