Your Blades

Your blades are your only contact with the ice. You want that contact to be as effective as possible. Keep them sharp, but not too sharp. A sharp blade grabs the ice better than a dull one. Sharpen them when they slide uncomfortable when you land. You want a balance here. If you wait too long, the change when you get them sharpened is pretty dramatic and your performance suffers. If you do it too often, you will wear out the blade too soon (yes, there is a finite number of times a blade can be sharpened). A good sharpener will sharpen according to your needs and type of skating.

Be responsible too. Blades do wear down. Make sure you place guards on the blades when walking off the ice. Mats or carpets are okay but may still have dirt that may affect the blades.

The biggest killer of blades is rust. Do your very best to avoid water damage. Always dry off your blades when you get off the ice. When you are finished for the day wipe them down with a towel. Be sure to wipe the mounting areas too. Screws rust too and the leather can get rotten. When you put them in your bag, make sure you put covers on the blades to soak up more moisture and protect them. When you get home, open up your bag and take off the covers and let the boots and blades dry out.

Your Boots

Take care to break them in properly. Replace your boots when they get too badly broken down. Your safety and the quality of your jumps rely on the consistency of support that only a well cared for boot can provide. Keep your boots well polished to look good and help protect the leather.

Always dry out your boots from the ice and sweat of your foot. Open up the boot, loosen the laces and pull the tongue up and out from the boot as much as possible to dry. Let your boots live outside the bag for a little while.

The Mount

Remember to check how your blades are mounted and notice any loose or missing screws. Due to the stresses and bending while you skate, they will loosen with time. Loose screws are dangerous and promote quicker wear of the leather too. You should have a few spare stainless steel screws in case one is missing.

Your Laces

A lace that breaks at an inopportune time can cause an awful lot of grief and possibly cause injury. Treat them with respect, and replace them when they start to wear or to lose threads or when the little plastic ends come off the ends.

Always keep a spare pairs of laces in your emergency bag. It is important to use the right length of lace. Too long and you’ll have huge loops left over, which can drag close to the ice and become a hazard. Too short and you’ll have a hard time tying them securely.