I am going to Nationals in Portland in January. I have never been to a live competion before, I'm very excited. I am looking for some advise from people who have attented Nationals before. What kind of things should I pack? Is the rink cold, especially during practices? When is the best time to try to meet the skaters, or get autographs? What is the best way to share results and my thoughts and feelings with people on the forums? I'm so nervous and excited and am counting the days already.
Thanks in advance for the advise,
You'll get lots of advice but here's a start.
Dress in layers. Usually at the first of the week it is very cold but when the arena gets crowded it is a lot warmer. It also tends to be colder when you are close to the ice. Don't go by what the temperature is outside. The coldest I have ever been at Nationals was in Pheonix. In Dallas, many expected it to be mild - it was freezing in the wind.
Go to practices, especially for novice and junior. Some of the senior competitors don't show up at practice very often, but the lower disciplines do. Don't focus on seniors alone. There will be a discipline that you miss no matter what you do, so just do as much as you can. Decide on a few skaters you would like to see and follow those events.
Walk around during the ice breaks. Meet new people. Think about food in advance. Most arenas don't open the food booths until the middle of the week. It can get dicey, especially if security is strict about those things. Every city is different so you won't know about the food situation/security situation till you get there.
Know the general courtesy situations. When there is a skating program going on on the ice, try not to go up and down the aisles and make sure you aren't blocking someone's view. Use discretion about asking for autographs - never during a practice session. Remember this is the most important competition of the year for most, if not all, of these skaters. They need to concentrate on the skating.
Do not take flash photography in the arenas - NEVER! I'm one of those people who never thought this was all that big a deal till I saw more than one skater fall because of a flash. I saw it once during a competition and I am sure it cost that skater a medal.
Most of all - Enjoy. It's so easy to meet people and they all love skating. Sometimes people who look a little different are the most enjoyable to talk to. Enjoy it just for skating's sake. Your person may do well or they may bomb, but skating is still wonderful.
Last thought - be careful when you talk about a skater - you may be sitting near their mother.
Last edited by A.H.Black; 10-31-2004 at 09:45 AM.
I don't have much advice for you, but do want to say have a wonderful time and safe trip.
We're in driving distance from Philadlephia, where '98 Nat's were held and we attended a few of the events. I'm sure it varies from arena to arena, so I would suggest dress in layers. I had a light weight long-sleeved turtle neck on under a heavy sweater. We had to leave the arena between events and we sat in our car to have a snack...I ended up taking the turtle neck off from under the sweater as I'd been way too warm in the arena with both on.
Things have changed since 9-11, so I don't think you can do this, but in '98, we took our own drinks and snacks with us as the soda from the vendors tasted terrible of "city water" mixed with the soda's syrup.
Enjoy the experience!