Get inline for summer fun
The start of summer doesn’t have to mean the end of skating for Parkites.
Even though the new Park City Ice Arena will be taking down their ice for the months of June and July, there will still be skating of a different kind inline skating.
Salt Lake-based inline skating company, SkateNow, LLC. owned by Eric and Kimberly Kraan will take over the rink once a week to offer beginner and speed/fitness inline skating classes.
Starting on Wednesday, June 7, the beginner and speed/fitness classes will meet for four consecutive weeks. Both speedskaters themselves, the Kraans wanted to offer the new Park City Speedskating Club members and other interested locals the opportunity to keep their technique and fitness levels up during the interim while the ice is down. They also hope to generate interest among Parkites just looking to learn how to inline skate or brush up on their rollerblading.
"I know there are a lot of closet skaters that have their rollerblades hidden in their closets," Eric said. "We want them to come out."
Eric also hopes the air-conditioned atmosphere is enticing.
"When it is 90 degrees outside, you have a nice indoor activity," he said.
Also both alpine skiing coaches, the Kraans hope to attract other athletes looking for off-season training. They have found that leg and core-strengthening, using edge control, translates to Nordic and alpine skiing and hockey as well as speedskating.
In fact, Kimberly first became involved with inline speedskating in Arizona when she would visit her sister in Park City. She found that she had lost some of the ski skills she had developed growing up in Michigan. With no ski resorts to be found in the Tucson area, inline skating was the best training she could find to get her legs stronger and help her with balancing and edging.
Eric came to the sport in a much different fashion. The son of a Dutch father and a Mexican mother, Eric grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico, listening to his father tell tales of speedskating in Holland. Of course, had nowhere to learn the sport. Eric, who moved to El Paso, Texas, in high school, instead began inline skating and eventually started speedskating after coming to America. Now a speedskater for the Mexican National Speedskating Team, Eric is hopeful to attract more Latinos,particularly young athletes to eventually compete for Mexico.
"I’m interested in bringing more Mexican competition into the sport," Kraan said.
Despite his blonde hair and light-colored eyes, Eric speaks fluent Spanish and can teach all of his classes in both English and Spanish.
The Kraans actually met and married on skates. They became friendly during a race in Tucson and eventually decided to wed. Eric admits that Kim beat him in that race.
"If you can’t beat them, join them," Eric chuckled.
Complete with an Elvis-impersonator in Las Vegas, the two tied the knot five years ago on their inline skates.
Right after that, they moved to Salt Lake where Kim, an architect with her own firm, ksk Architects, could benefit from the Olympic-related building growth. They soon began growing the sport of inline throughout the area.
The beginning inline class will focus on the basics of the sport, including stopping, standing, turning and balancing. The speed/fitness class will take those skills and show the students how to build speed and complete one-legged turns. Also, the class will teach necessary technique for more aggressive skating, such as skate parks, downhill and up hill skating and doing tricks. The rink will also host an inline hockey class, and Kraan says that both of his classes will help people prepare for that.
Those new to the sport or still a bit wobbly should take the beginning class. More frequent skaters will be able to start in the speed/fitness classes. The Kraans ask that all skaters wear a helmet, and recommend the full spectrum of safety gear, including wristbands, elbow and knee pads. The Kraans sell all of the necessary equipment at their online store as well as some speedskating equipment. Participants can bring their rollerblades or rent from the Kraans, although availability is limited. Speedskaters with their own skates can buy an inline skate frame that will attach to their speedskating boot and then add wheels.
Classes will be limited to 20 people, and Eric says instruction will be adjusted to the needs of the class. Participants must be over the age of six or accompanied by an adult.
The Kraans also offer a plethora of social opportunities in Salt Lake for anyone that really starts enjoying the sport. Every Friday, beginning from the north end of Liberty Park between 7:30-8 p.m., the Kraans host a free group skate that takes inliners from the park down to the Gateway Mall with pit stops for snacks and the bathroom along the way. They are hosting a 5K inline race during Draper Days in the south end of the Salt lake Valley on July 22. Longer trips to Napa, Calif., for a marathon on June 18 and a 75-mile skate in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, on the Fourth of July are also planned during the summer for the more adventurous.
The Kraans have also pledged to expand their programs in Park City if the response is favorable. Classes are slated for June and July, but they will add an August class elsewhere if the demand is high. They might also open a class session on Sunday mornings. A "skate to skiing" class and endurance class on one of the smoother trails in the area may also be a possibility.
"We’ll keep coming up here through the fall if the interest is good," Eric said.
Kraan is very hopeful that the recreationally-inclined residents of Park City will really take to the sport of inlining. After a surge of popularity in the mid-90s, interest waned in the U.S. With the renewed interest in speedskating, Kraan hopes to see the sport become popular once more. The two sports are seeing crossovers become more prominent. Olympic speedskaters Derek Para, Chad Hedrick, Jennifer Rodriquez and Joey Cheek all excelled on wheels before they ever hit the ice. All over Europe, inline is still a very poplar sport. Nighttime city skates in Paris, France can attract up to 10,000 people. In bigger American cities like San Francisco, at least 700 people will gather for late-night community-wide skates.
"They don’t get a lot of press, but the sport is really large," Eric said.
The inline speed and fitness class meets from 7-8 p.m. The basic inline skating class will be held from 4:15-5:15 p.m. Cost is $55 per person. Online registration is available through http://www.active.com. Registration can also be paid directly to SkateNow. Make checks payable to SkateNow, LLC. and send to SkateNow, LLC, 3663 E. Capstone Avenue, Salt Lake City, Utah 84121.
SkateNow has limited rental fitness skates available, but participants need to make arrangements prior to the class. Protective gear and helmets are also available. To buy gear online, visit http://www.theskatenowshop.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org . For skaters wishing to convert their ice speedskates to inline speedskates for summer skating, a discounted package is available for $215.00(plus tax). For further information on all of the SkateNow programs, visit http://www.skatenow.home.att.net , e-mail email@example.com or call (801) 944-5516.
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