Before skating outdoors, test the ice first to make sure that it is strong and hard enough to skate on. One way of testing the strength of a frozen body of water is to find a very shallow area and place one foot onto the ice. Apply your body weight until you feel comfortable to place your other foot onto the ice surface as well. You can then drill a hole in the ice to check for ice thickness. You can also check other sections of the ice rink to make sure that it is safe to skate on by drilling some holes through the surface.
Keep in mind that natural ice surfaces are always full of danger. They are not as safe as indoor ones that are always maintained and regularly inspected. If you prefer to skate outdoors, stay away from these hazardous areas:
- The shoreline
- Moving water
- Hot springs
- Sunny areas
- Frozen bodies of water that hold a large amount of debris
Do not skate near pockets of open water on a frozen lake as well since this means the ice is thin or you are near a cracked surface.
Whether you are on an indoor or outdoor ice rink, always wear a helmet since the slick ice makes it easy for anyone to slip and fall.
Lastly, always skate in the same direction as everyone else on the ice. If there are kids who are slower skaters, instruct them to stick to the sides of the rink so that they won’t get hurt by fast skaters. If you are indoors and there are young learners, you can ask them to hold on the railings so that they don’t slip or fall too often while they are learning to skate.