How expensive is figure skating

macy

Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2011
very.

-ice time (my local rink charges $16 an hour for freestyle. multiply this by 5-10 for only 1-2 hours of ice time for 5 days a week. this is a lot less than the elite skaters do.)
-coaching fees (most skaters have a team of coaches for different areas of their skating, some charge around $100/hour.)
-music cutting
-practice wear
-competition entry fees
-testing fees
-skates and equipment (elite skaters can go through several pairs a year- boots alone usually cost around $1000. blades need to be sharped usually every few weeks.)
-competition dresses/costumes (these can cost several thousand just for one. skaters have 2 different programs per season, and thats if there has been no change in programs that year.)
-travel expenses for yourself and your coach when competing (elite skaters have this covered to some extent by their federation, but don't ask me how much. if you are not elite, you are still traveling several times a year even though it's not internationally)
-dance classes
-choreographers
-off ice/strength training with a personal trainer (usually several times a week if not daily. hourly and gym fees.)
-physical therapy, doctors appointments, sports psychologists, nutritionists, surgeries

there is more, but this is just what i can think of off the top of my head as an ex competitive skater (although not elite). in a nutshell, it's extremely expensive.
 

Flying Feijoa

On the Ice
Joined
Sep 22, 2019
Country
New-Zealand
Almost half my rent šŸ˜³ (Though I'm just a poor student so my rent is not high.)

In non-COVID times, I just skate 4 hours/week at a dinky neighbourhood arena. The occasional test, a comp every couple of years, but most of the recurring costs are from ice time and private lessons (group/semi-private won't do past a certain level). Rink shutdowns are saving me a lot of money... money that I would willingly spend though šŸ˜¢

OP if you're thinking of getting into skating for fun, don't let that discourage you. I know parents and kids at my rink who don't have a huge budget, but they try to make ends meet (2nd-hand costumes, picking nearby competitions instead of faraway etc.). Ice time and lesson fees vary by coach/arena and although the top-level skaters (or their feds) have unavoidably high expenses, judging by families I know it's possible to get to decent intermediate level (e.g. landing most doubles) on a more modest budget with hard work, strategic choices and some personal sacrifices.
 

theblade

Rinkside
Joined
Feb 15, 2018
All of the above. Plus whatever anyone else says. Coaching fees where I am are topping $120-$150 per hour USD.

Also, if you are in a town that doesn't have your level of coaching, you have to move to get coaching. Sometimes not even to the next town, but, at an elite level, to another country.

Where we are, some skaters do part of their non-jump/spin training on public ice (as opposed to freestyle), during the school day. They are the regional/sectional competitors.

However, two highly talented junior national singles competitors in the my area of SoCal (one female, one male) will also still use random sessions to get ice time. Both have mainly out-of-town coaching. It's incredible what they achieve on a finite budget. Inspiring. But also a statement on figure skating and how little funding there is for skaters in their development years before the senior level.
 

Bluediamonds09

Medalist
Joined
Sep 8, 2016
I think its roughly $50,000 annually for a top level skater in the US (provided you're not taking monthly out-of-state trips to learn new techniques with the top tier coaches like Raf or Carroll, who may charge more). That's travel, your coach's travel, costumes, ice time, ballet classes, the works. I could be wrong but I think it cost more in the UK, where you're less likely to get a sponsor.
 

Ic3Rabbit

Patineuse Ć©lite et professionnelle
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Country
Canada
I think its roughly $50,000 annually for a top level skater in the US (provided you're not taking monthly out-of-state trips to learn new techniques with the top tier coaches like Raf or Carroll, who may charge more). That's travel, your coach's travel, costumes, ice time, ballet classes, the works. I could be wrong but I think it cost more in the UK, where you're less likely to get a sponsor.
Try again, it's much more than that.
 

LiamForeman

Medalist
Joined
Nov 24, 2006
Try again, it's much more than that.
Right? Didn't Patrick Chan say ten years ago his costs were something outrageous like $150K?!?! I was stuck on the $50K number for high level until a colleague told me that they were spending that much on their 10 y/o girl who might not even be in novice! I seriously do not know how anyone can afford it without sponsorships. I'd rather put my kid in gymnastics or tennis. It's also expensive but not as much and there actually are college scholarships available unlike FS.

What is the ballpark now for a 10 y/o with a 3toe and 3sal and inconsistent loop who now is homeschooled? 60K? She's never going to be a star either. (Sounds harsh, but it's reality)
 

gliese

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 31, 2020
Country
United-States
From when I was a synchro skater at the Intermediate level:
Skating Team Tuition: 12,000
Skates: 1,500
General Lessons: 11,000
Sharpenings: 520
Ice Time: 10,000
Ice Dance Lessons: 2,500
Ballet: 1,500
Tutoring for all the school I missed: 1000
I'm missing a lot but that adds up to 40,000 + any money I spend doing recreational singles skating competitions.

Now as a competitive singles skater at the Intermediate level:
Coaching: 17,000
Ice Time: 13,000
Personal Training: 1,000
Skates: 1,500
Sharpenings: 520
Dance Classes: 2,000
Dresses: 1,500
Competition Fees: 3,000
Travel: 2,000 (this is with deals with hotels and airlines already minimizing costs)
Online School since I can't do public anymore: 8,000
This totals to 49,520

This isn't including one time purchases or all the smaller costs such as membership.

Edit: the reason Synchro was less expensive is because the team was sponsored left and right. I didn't have to pay for personal training because sponsorship covered it. I didn't have to pay for as much tutoring as I should have needed to because the line managers and my teammates were always there to help. I didn't have to pay for travel + hotels because sponsorship covered it. Dresses were also covered by sponsorship and were also less sparkly due to stones being banned in synchro except for the Junior and Senior levels. Being a member of the team reduced my ice time rates by 3,000 dollars a year because, again, sponsorship covered it. Being on your own is much harder financially and mentally. Transitioning was the toughest thing I've ever done.
 
Last edited:

el henry

Fangirl of menā€™s spirals and split jumps
Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 3, 2014
Country
United-States
@gliese thank you for your detailed answer. Do you mind if I ask you a question?

Is "tuition" in your first list for a school particularly designed for figure skating? Or for a private school because you could not attend public school while training? I am slightly confused.

(I do understand the second part with the online school instead of public. It is only in the past few years that I have become aware how very unusual it was for Jason Brown to attend and graduate public school:eek:)
 

gliese

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 31, 2020
Country
United-States
I'm going to break down the costs of a skater wanting to skate professionally with shows such as Disney on Ice or with cruise ships with no other goals in mind:

Theater on Ice Tuition (for experience): 2,500 (can be cheaper or more expensive, this is my TOI teams tuition)
Joining a pre-professional show if one is near: can cost up to 5,000 or in lucky cases, you will be paid for the job so I won't be counting this in the total
Coaching (includes jumps, show tricks, ice dance): 15,500
Training in Pairs/Synchro: 5,000
Ice Time: 13,000
Personal Training: 1,000
Skates: 1,500
Sharpenings: 520
Dance Classes: 3,000 to 5,000 depending how serious the school is
Dresses/Costumes: 4,000 (costs more than singles because more programs and more elaborate costumes)
Choreo (singles skaters sometimes have this, but my coach does mine so I didn't include it): can vary but 500 per program is an average rate so 2,000 total
Competition Fees (usually showcase): 3,000
Travel: 2,000 (this is with deals with hotels and airlines already minimizing costs)
If doing online school: about 5,000
If doing public with tutoring for missed school: also about 5,000

The total is 58,520.

My current total is also closer to that, but distributed differently because I do Theater on Ice, have lessons in show tricks, and am part of a paid pre-professional show program as I want to do professional shows also.
 

Flying Feijoa

On the Ice
Joined
Sep 22, 2019
Country
New-Zealand
Dresses were also covered by sponsorship and were also less sparkly due to stones being banned in synchro except for the Junior and Senior levels.
Wow, interesting rule... Are rhinestones banned by sponsors for budget constraints, or other reasons (e.g. safety)?

Side note, ~$50k a year is roughly comparable to non-subsidized university tuition fees in certain programmes (e.g. international rates for an undergraduate BSc at a UK public university, or general rates for a US private uni).

Just wondering if anyone knows what it costs to reach a similar intermediate level in other sports? Meaning both fairly mainstream ones (e.g. tennis, football, gymnastics) as well as niche disciplines (dressage, snowboard half-pipe, ski-jumping etc.)


Right? Didn't Patrick Chan say ten years ago his costs were something outrageous like $150K?!?!
Some of the cost (at least ice time) might vary by club though. Patrick skated at Granite for a bit - Granite and TCC are expensive private clubs. There are Team Canada skaters at other slightly more 'normal' clubs like Scarboro FSC (Gilles/Poirier), Richmond Hill Training Centre (Nam Nguyen) or YRSA (Roman Sadovsky). Although since they're in high-level programmes and using lots of ice time, I'm not sure how much difference that makes cost-wise.
I guess in terms of coaching fees, Brian Orser might cost more than e.g. Robert Burk, though.
 

gliese

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 31, 2020
Country
United-States
Wow, interesting rule... Are rhinestones banned by sponsors for budget constraints, or other reasons (e.g. safety)?
Banned by the USFS due to safety concerns and not wanting synchronized skating to get too theatrical.
Side note, ~$50k a year is roughly comparable to non-subsidized university tuition fees in certain programmes (e.g. international rates for an undergraduate BSc at a UK public university, or general rates for a US private uni).
That's exactly why I'm looking for professional skating jobs before I go to college. Because I need the money. I have some saved, but not enough.
 

Tonight's the Night

On the Ice
Joined
Nov 19, 2020
Country
United-States
Side note, ~$50k a year is roughly comparable to non-subsidized university tuition fees in certain programmes (e.g. international rates for an undergraduate BSc at a UK public university, or general rates for a US private uni).

That's exactly why I'm looking for professional skating jobs before I go to college. Because I need the money. I have some saved, but not enough.

A lot of the official tuition figures for private colleges and universities in the United States are just sticker prices, paid in full only by the wealthiest students. The sticker prices have gone up and up because the schools are competing with each other to look like luxury brands, but also because they are creating a sliding scale -- trying to get more out of the wealthier students so that the less wealthy don't have to pay as much. So it's always worth it to see what kind of financial aid package one can get. Or to ask friends who are willing to talk about their finances what kind of packages they were offered. (Though of course it's still expensive; that goes without saying.)
 

gsk8

Record Breaker
Joined
Jun 21, 2003
Country
United-States
Thanks @macy and @gliese for the helpful info!

It got me thinking of the most expensive sports in the world. Off-topic, but here's a list:

Formula 1
Sailing
Polo
Equestrian
Tennis
Ski Jumping
Hot Air Balloon Racing
Golf
Swimming (Olympic medalist Dara Torres spent around $150,000 on her training yearly when she trained between 2000-2008)
Bobsledding
Wingsuiting
Ski Jumping
 

Ic3Rabbit

Patineuse Ć©lite et professionnelle
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Country
Canada
Many skaters family, including my own have had to remortgage their homes several times in order to pay for their skaters training. It's just very expensive, but worth it. I've mentioned this several times when it applied to threads asking in the past. (y)
 
Top