Figure Skating Can Be Expensive

If you have a child who figure skates or who is interested in learning to figure skate, then you probably know it can be an expensive sport but maybe don’t realize just how expensive. It can also creep up on you, as you quickly go from simply enrolling a child in skating lessons to suddenly having a blossoming figure skater in your midst. When my daughter began ice skating lessons, in a parent-to class with her father, we simply had in mind that she would learn the basics and be able to skate for fun. Little did we know what was in store!

From age 3, my daughter took to the ice in a big way, and now, at the age of only 7, she has already passed through all of the Eight Basic Skills classes offered through USFS (United States Figure Skating ), and has begun Freestyle lessons.

During the Spring of her first year on the ice, she saw the annual big Spring ice show poster at her local rink. From that moment, it began, a true figure skater was born. At that moment, her father and I both realized this was going to become something bigger than we had originally imagined. With the first Spring ice show, not only came the extra costs of enrolling her in two extra skate school sessions to participate, but also came the registration and costume fees for the ice show. Then came special , flesh colored, “over the boot” tights and a flesh colored leotard to wear under her costume.

Then came additional fees of the special ice show tee shirt, custom made for her rink’s ice show each year, which run about $25 alone. Plus, costs of tickets for parents and family for three consecutive nights of ice shows, programs for the show, and the portraits and DVDs (and of course they tape two separate nights of performances during the three night run, and you just have to own both copies because your child was so spectacular each night!). As you can see, the costs add up rather quickly.

As your child gets older, he or she may want to participate in more ice shows or exhibitions at their local rink, and may even want to branch out into local competitions. My daughter, in addition to the big Spring ice shows, also participates in the holiday exhibition ice show, therefore requiring her to have a few private lessons to work up a routine with a private coach. In these instances, you not only pay for the private coach, but for “ice time” as well. This all adds up. Same for competitions, you need ice time plus time with a private coach to choreograph and learn a routine.

When a child starts skating at an early age, there is also the matter of how quickly they will outgrow their skates. Skates are not cheap, and you will most likely go through many pairs from the ages of three to seven. I am guessing we’ve been through at least five with my daughter, and most recently dealt with the issue of having to buy skates with the boot and special freestyle blades separately. After your child enters the Freeskate programs, they will need a special blade in order to safely do the jumps required in those classes. Freeskate blades are much more expensive that just buying a traditional pair of skates.

So, how can you save some money with all of these costs associated with figure skating? As far as class fees, private coaches, registration fees, competition fees, etc., there is really not much that can be done. In these instances, it is what it is, and you either go along with it, or don’t skate. But, the one thing I have found you can save money on is the skates themselves.

When your child is small and needs only a basic skate, try a place that sells used sporting goods. A good example of such a store in my area is Play It Again Sports. Many times, stores such as these will carry figure skates in a variety of sizes, and we have been lucky enough to find several good pairs through them. When my daughter outgrew a pair of skates, aside from her very first pair which was too sentimental to part with, we would simply take back the pair she had outgrown, and get a fairly decent trade in amount toward another pair of skates. We were able to do this for several pairs of skates, and thus, saved a lot of money.

Now that my daughter needs the special blades, we were able to find a skating shop nearby that not only custom fits and sells new figure skates, but also used. We were able to find a used boot that fit my daughter, and some very high end freestyle blades that were able to be attached to the boots, all for less than new blades alone would have cost. Also, if you have a friend who has a child that skates, consider trading outgrown skates with them. I have a friend who has offered me her daughter’s next outgrown pair of freestyle skates, which will then fit my daughter. This friend has also given me several skating dresses her daughter has outgrown, which has really saved us some money.

So, keep these things in mind when heading into the world of figure skating. There will be skate school fees, private coach fees, USFS annual membership fees if using a USFS program, registration fees for ice shows and competitions, ice time fees, costume fees, all the costs associated with the ice shows (programs/admissions/DVDs/photos), and above all else, the skate costs.

Figure skating can certainly be an expensive sport for your child, but the rewards are so very worth it. This is a truly amazing and beautiful sport, and I feel that I, as a parent, have gotten as much or more out of it from watching my daughter as she has grown and progressed and become the truly amazing little skater girl that she is. There is something magical about this sport, just be prepared for what lies ahead, because you’ll soon become immersed in it and become a true “figure skating parent.”

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