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Programs to prepare for the Rideau Canal

Katherine DeClerq | Fulcrum Staff

WHILE THE WEATHER hasn’t quite hit freezing level yet, the month of December tends to put people in the mood to race at high speeds, glide across ice, or slap pucks into nets. That’s right, it’s the beginning of skating season, and in due time, students will have the opportunity to try their hand at these winter activities on the longest outdoor rink in the world.

In preparation for this winter wonderland, the University of Ottawa offers skating lessons and recreational programs to students at discounted prices.

“These courses are popular,” said Lenny Sabourin, manager of instructional, fitness, and wellness programs at the U of O. “Most students who take part … are looking to learn or improve on their skills in order to be able to enjoy skating on the Rideau Canal. What better way to improve your skills than by working with a qualified instructor?”

There are two types of instructional programs at the U of O—Learn to Skate and Figure Skating.

The Learn to Skate class is recommended for students who have limited knowledge of skating techniques and who want to prepare for the Rideau Canal experience. It is led by a qualified instructor who will teach basic skills such as skating forward, stopping, turning from forward to backward, and skating backwards.

“This is a beginner course for participants who would love to learn how to be more comfortable on the ice and learn how to skate,” said Sabourin.

For students with previous figure skating experience, the University of Ottawa offers a course designed to hone your skills. For two hours a week, an instructor will supervise and provide feedback for those looking to improve.

“The Figure Skating class is also popular, as many figure skaters like to stay active and work on their individual skills,” said Sabourin about the program. “It is [also] convenient to be able to take advantage of the ice time available right here on campus.”

Learn to Skate costs students $50 for one hour a week, while Figure Skating instruction costs $75 for a weekly two-hour session. Each program lasts for eight weeks.

Sports Services acknowledges some students may not have the cash for these classes, and offers recreational drop-in time slots where students have access to the ice rinks in the Minto Sports Complex. Students can present their student card and skate with friends and family.

With winter slowly creeping up on us, Sabourin believes students should take advantage of these programs in order to stay active during the winter season.

“What better way to get ready for the canal than to practice on a great ice surface right here on campus?”

Recreational skating is offered during the winter semester on Mondays and Wednesdays 12:30–1:20 p.m., Tuesdays 1:30–2:20 p.m., and Thursdays 10:30–11:20 a.m. CSA-approved helmets and elbow pads are recommended during lessons and drop-in activities. Visit Geegees.ca to register for instructional skating programs.