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Thread: question about ice size

  1. #1
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    question about ice size

    I hope this doesn't sound like the dumbest question ever...but it's been on my mind for years and I never asked, and it is the off season, so (holds breath) here goes:

    are all competition ice surfaces the same size...i.e. nationals, GPs, Worlds, and Olympics...is there a standard surface size?

    Related to that, some posters here and on FSU have mentioned how some rinks are small...does that mean the ice surface, and IF so, how do skaters adjust their patterns/layout to the larger competition ice (presuming it is larger)?

    Is show ice (like SOI and COI) smaller than competition...it looks that way on tv...is that due to the curtains/props or is it the ice size too?

    Finally, how does figure skating ice compare to hockey....(ok, no, i've never seen any live competitions, just my local ice show, and haven't been to a hockey game since i was a kid...oh so long ago). Thanks

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Thank you for asking that question. I was just about to ask about this quote I just read in Blades on Ice magazine. This is Michelle, talking about her short program at Worlds:

    "I'm used to NFL rinks. They're a lot smaller and i was just a little nervous that they'd deduct me for not filling out the rink, so I made sure that I covered the ice."

    What's an NFL rink? Did she mean an NHL (National Hockey League) rink?

    Mathman

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    Custom Title heyang's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure I've heard that the size of the ice surfaces varies based upon country - kinda European vs US vs Asian standards I think. I'm not sure, but I think ice rinks in Europe might be slightly longer than US, but narrower. The standard ice surface might be calculated by square footage vs circumference vs radii.

    Madison Square Garden Ice is bigger than Sovereign Arena Ice and SOI have appeared at both. Both are used for Hockey, but different levels. I imagine the skaters much adjust by the size of their strokes? I'm purely speculating.

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    I'm wondering the same thing. I heard Suezy commented at 2004 worlds(?) that the rink is a little bigger than skaters trainning rink, thus they have to push their moves in all directions in order to cover more ice.

    What I would like to know what the difference of an official Olympic size rink and full size hockey rink, are they the same size?

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    PATCH NJSk8Fan's Avatar
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    I can only answer about the SOI ice....it's definitely not "full size" ice as there are on-ice seats....they "cut the corners", I guess a better way to say it is they square of the curved ends of the ice. You can pretty much tell when a skater new to the SOI ice is skating...they look way more cautious going into their jumps and often barely land on the ice. This past year, Mike Weiss did a jump near us and he was about a blades width away from the edge of the ice when he landed--really close to going off the ice. Was kind of scary.

    Sounds like ice surfaces may be the same as baseball fields--none of them are the same shape or size! Doesn't seem fair for skating OR baseball that the "playing fields" are not a regulation, standard size.

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    average opinionated skate fan
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    I think we've plumbed this question before, but it does bear repeating....

    Hockey Rinks (where many ice shows and smaller comps occur):
    The official size of the rink is 200 feet long and 85 feet wide. The corners are rounded in the arc of a circle having a radius of 28 feet.

    Oylimpic Ice Surface: An Olympic-size rink is 200’x100’

    That means there is more side to side area in the olmpic rink. I would think that would explain why so much of the footworrk is straightline since the distance traveled on either rink would approx the same. Adjusting for things like moves in the field that need to be adjusted for presentation (how big does that arm movement need to be when you're holding a move with 10 ft to cover?) also, there's that naggin question "why people bury their jumps in the corner"?

    Just a bit of trivia I found when searching for the demention...the ice surface is appoximately 3/4 of an inch think and held at about 16 degrees F. If the ice gets thicker than that it tends to slow the skater. Also, Show skaters often use slower "warmer" ice to both allow for more control and to give the ice that reflective quality the show lights give it. :o

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    Thanks, sk8m8. I heard that in US the ice surface usually 'soft' than European rinks? It was said that in Moscow or Rusia during the winter, there is no need for Zombinie machine. When the ice surface melted, they just open the rink door, the ice will 'resurfaced', and the ice surface is much more hard than it is in US.

  8. #8
    ~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~ Ladskater's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emma
    I hope this doesn't sound like the dumbest question ever...but it's been on my mind for years and I never asked, and it is the off season, so (holds breath) here goes:

    are all competition ice surfaces the same size...i.e. nationals, GPs, Worlds, and Olympics...is there a standard surface size?

    Related to that, some posters here and on FSU have mentioned how some rinks are small...does that mean the ice surface, and IF so, how do skaters adjust their patterns/layout to the larger competition ice (presuming it is larger)?

    Is show ice (like SOI and COI) smaller than competition...it looks that way on tv...is that due to the curtains/props or is it the ice size too?

    Finally, how does figure skating ice compare to hockey....(ok, no, i've never seen any live competitions, just my local ice show, and haven't been to a hockey game since i was a kid...oh so long ago). Thanks

    Not a dumb question! Usually, Olympic ice rinks are larger. Every rink is different, however and skaters have to adapt where ever they are. This could mean while training in the same town and going from rink to rink, or when they are on the road.

    The hardest thing to adjust to is a smaller rink. When a skater is accustomed to a larger rink, they have to rethink when they are skating. Probably, the most difficult jump to adjust is the Lutz. Skaters get into a comfort zone where they place the Lutz and having to rethink sometimes causes problems with their landing.

    Some ice shows are performed on smaller sized rinks, but usually posses no problems, because skaters are not performing big jumps. Pairs and ice dance teams may have to adjust some of their lifts, but they are accustomed to it.

    Ice Hockey? Well, I have skated on many a rink after the hockey players have finished chewing up the ice. They cause ruts!!!! Figure skaters hate using the same ice surface as hockey players, but that is the way it is usually. The zamboni man is our best friend.

    Hope this helps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sk8m8
    I think we've plumbed this question before, but it does bear repeating....

    Hockey Rinks (where many ice shows and smaller comps occur):
    The official size of the rink is 200 feet long and 85 feet wide. The corners are rounded in the arc of a circle having a radius of 28 feet.

    Oylimpic Ice Surface: An Olympic-size rink is 200’x100’

    That means there is more side to side area in the olmpic rink. I would think that would explain why so much of the footworrk is straightline since the distance traveled on either rink would approx the same. Adjusting for things like moves in the field that need to be adjusted for presentation (how big does that arm movement need to be when you're holding a move with 10 ft to cover?) also, there's that naggin question "why people bury their jumps in the corner"?

    Just a bit of trivia I found when searching for the demention...the ice surface is appoximately 3/4 of an inch think and held at about 16 degrees F. If the ice gets thicker than that it tends to slow the skater. Also, Show skaters often use slower "warmer" ice to both allow for more control and to give the ice that reflective quality the show lights give it. :o
    THANKS....so when commentators say that serpentine is harder than circular that is then harder than straightline....is that because serpentine goes in two directions AND covers so much ice or is it really just the directions that they are referring to?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ladskater
    Ice Hockey? Well, I have skated on many a rink after the hockey players have finished chewing up the ice. They cause ruts!!!! Figure skaters hate using the same ice surface as hockey players, but that is the way it is usually. The zamboni man is our best friend.

    Hope this helps.
    This much I did know...I skate at a rink and when the hockey kids skate it is a total disaster.

    I'm going to ask what size it is when i go today...200x85 seems a lot bigger to me than where i go, but maybe i'm spatially challenged (too).

    ETA: thanks Ladyskater....and to anyone who knows this too: so is part of being an elite skater learning how to adjust programs - placement of elements, number of cross overs, whatever, basically at the drop of a dime (from competition to competition)? And how do you learn that, is it just experience competing (with some people better at adjusting than others?). How does all the talk of 'let muscle memory take over' work if you HAVE to keep changing things?

    Does this have anything to do with why Sasha first left Nicks (I do remember her complaining about ice time, and hearing that she shared the ice with a number of other free style skaters in practice--just wondering if surface size was an issue too); this have anything to do with why training at East-West might be really good for Kwan? Does it help explain why some skaters 'inexplicably' loose their timing going into jumps or what not?

    PS ... didn't know that about baseball either...interesting!
    Last edited by emma; 06-15-2005 at 07:29 AM.

  11. #11
    Tripping on the Podium
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    Show skaters need to be able to adjust to different rink sizes at the drop of a hat. I know that the ice surface in my local civic center is smaller than NHL size, for instance. But for major competitions in the US, at least, they don't need to make many changes. Here, you have to be able to meet specific criteria before you are allowed to host a competition. My rink has Olympic and NHL size surfaces. Combined with the smaller ice at the civic center (used for practice ice only), we have been allowed to host a Regional competition, but are not allowed to bid for Nationals. That would have to be held at the civic center because of the seating capacity, but the ice isn't big enough to accommodate the skaters, especially pairs and dance. I don't know what the criteria would be in other countries, though.

  12. #12
    In love with the axel!
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    Re: hockey ice vs. figure skating ice

    Hockey players prefer a colder, harder ice This is because their blades have a different grind than figure skates, and can move faster on that kind of ice. Figure skaters prefer a softer ice, for the same reason. When I skate on a colder rink, there is a crunch to the ice, and you definitely do not feel as secure on your blades.

    Re: rink size

    IIRC, the Dallas Nat's rink was NHL sized, and that is one of the reasons we saw so many crashes into the boards.

    For the average skater (like me ), rink size can be important not only when you compete, but also when you test. Moves in the field and dance patterns fill up the ice differently on the different rinks.

  13. #13
    Tripping on the Podium
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    Quote Originally Posted by emma
    ETA: thanks Ladyskater....and to anyone who knows this too: so is part of being an elite skater learning how to adjust programs - placement of elements, number of cross overs, whatever, basically at the drop of a dime (from competition to competition)? And how do you learn that, is it just experience competing (with some people better at adjusting than others?). How does all the talk of 'let muscle memory take over' work if you HAVE to keep changing things?
    From my own experience as a competitive figure skater, I'd like to say that yes, you always do have to keep changing things. Sometimes the changes are small and are no big deal, and other times they can really throw you off. Skating on a larger ice surface than you're accustomed to requires pushing a lot harder throughout the entire performance... sometimes adding more crossovers isn't an option. You still run on your muscle memory for the choreography but you make an effort to make everything bigger so you cover more ice. Also, it's not "only" an extra 15' to cover (going from NHL to Olympic) because your circle circumference has increased by nearly 50'! That's a lot of extra ice to cover on a circular step sequence.

    For the question of how you learn to adjust your programs... it's all about experience and skating on many different ice surfaces over your career, the more you skate on - the easier it becomes to adapt. IMO I don't think it's an acceptable excuse for elite skaters to blame poor perfomances on ice size because they have already had a lot of experience skating on different sized ice surfaces, and they've also had several hours of practice time on the competition ice in the days before they compete. If the ice size throws them off, they should blame their lack of focus, not the ice.

    -C

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    Your average neighborhood ice rink is going to be hockey sized (200 x 85) so that is what the majority of skaters are training on. If they end up testing or competing on an Olympic rink, like the others have said, you really have to strengthen your stroking to fill out the ice.

    I usually have the opposite problem--I skate on an Olympic sized rink most of the time, and usually end up having my lessons & testing on a smaller rink. Since I'm a dancer, yes, I have hit the boards many times! It's a joke w/ my coach now, but the first time he came to my regular rink he took one look around & said, "now I understand why you hit the wall all the time!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by emma
    this have anything to do with why training at East-West might be really good for Kwan? Does it help explain why some skaters 'inexplicably' loose their timing going into jumps or what not?
    I would think so. It was said that the East-West rink is a full size rink (Olympics or Ice Hockey? that's I'm wondering). But Lake Arrowhead rink is a much small one. I think it is good that TT did choreograph for MK at East-West rink, if she continue her trainning there, it would be better serve her musel memory. But Lake Arrowhead also has its advantages, more seclude less distraction, altitude is good for endurance trainning.

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