After 2 years of being a Beginner, I have graduated to Intermediate level. This means I needed new blades. My old ones were beginner blades, and I needed a blade with sharper edges, more curve, and a bigger and sharper toe pick. Unfortuantely, my beginner skates were the type where the blade cannot be removed from the boot, without damaging the boot. So I had to get new boots AND blades.
I went to Dave Kimmel, who now works at Ice Den, to get new skates. He had 3 styles that had the separated boot and blade, but he only had 1 style in my size. I tried it on and it was very uncomfortable. I know new boots will be stiff and uncomfortable at first, until they get broken in, but I mean this was really uncomfortable, right away. So I had to order the other two styles in my size. They came in a few days ago, and yesterday I got off work early to go up there and try them on.
I was wondering what would happen if neither of these boots fit me? Where would I go for new boots?? Dave is the only supplier I know of in the whole Phoenix area. So I went with fingers double crossed! Thankfully, the first pair I tried on fit perfectly!! Plenty of wiggle room in the toes, but snug in the arch and ankle. They are Jackson brand (made in Canada), "Freestyle" style. They are soooo well padded inside, it's like my feet are on pillows!! Just to make sure, I tried on the other boot (Edea brand, made in Italy). I had thought these were the ones that I'd like better, but actually the boot was not as comfortable on my foot. It was a lot lighter weight, but I'm already used to the regular weight of the boot on my foot, so I didn't mind keeping the heavier Jackson boot. The padding inside Jackson Freestyle boot als conforms to your foot as it warms up, so that's another reason they fit so well.
The blade is called "Mirage". I don't know that much about blades, but I know this is an intermediate one. I'm sure it will last me a good long while. Oh, another interesting thing is that my old blade was 10", but this one is 9.5".
The cost of the boot and blade together came to $260 plus tax. Not as bad as I thought it would be. I was expecting to pay between $300 - $400!
I was sooooooooooo excited to have my new skates!!!!!
So today I tried them out for the first time. I had my morning lesson with Dee. To my surprise, these new blades feel quite different from the old ones...not just because the toe pick is bigger (and easier to trip over!), but just the balance and everything will take some time to adapt again and feel confident. One thing I noticed was that it was MUCH easier to go backwards, which had been my main problem in my old blades. So I know this will cure that problem!! Also because of the placement of the toe pick, it was a lot easier to come to a stop going backwards, and also easier to do my "toe pick" exercises by the low wall (in preparation for a waltz jump!). I am 100% sure that once I get these boots broken in more, and get used to the new feel and balance of them, I will be able to progress pretty quickly from now on!! That 1/2 inch shorter blade in the back makes a huge difference on the ice!
I'm soooooooooo happy and excited to continue on with this lovely sport!!
Here's a photo of my new boot toe pick vs. the old boot toe pick:
And here's a photo of the whole new boot and blade: