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Learn to Skate


In addition to the Learn to skate classes we have always offered at Southside Ice Arena, we have formed an agreement with Kentwood Ice Arena to offer the same Learn to Skate courses at the Kentwood Ice Arena as well.  This gives your more options!

Learn to Skate in the Greater Grand Rapids Area

How do I sign up for Learn to Skate Classes?

  1. Print and complete the sign up form below.  
  2. If this is your first registration this year please sign up with USA Hockey or mark the box on the sign up form for US Figure Skating ($12 upon registration, we will get you enrolled!)
  3. Please bring your registration, along with your check or credit card, on the first day of class.
  4. Payment by Check or Credit Card are accepted ($77 per session).

Southside Ice Arena Learn to Skate

The Southside Skate School provides opportunities for skaters of all ages and skill levels to achieve their individual goals by encouraging sportsmanship, support of one another, mutual respect, technical excellence, and the joy of the sport! We utilize the US Figure Skating Associations Learn to Skate program, preparing skaters for their next level and helping them achieve their goals. 

As our skaters advance though Skate School, and as their love for the sport of hockey or figure skating grows, we offer private lessons or may place them in our Cross Ice Hockey program to supplement the advancing skaters development.  For more information regarding our hockey or figure skating development programs please contact Liz Winninger (contact information below).

We offer our Learn to Skate series two different days of the week, Tuesdays and Saturdays. We ask that new skaters wear a helmet and all skaters are recommended to wear gloves (click on the following to complete our registration form, bring payment and form along with you for the first day of Skate School).  


Learn to Skate Frequently Asked Questions

What can I expect the first day of class?

Arrive 20-30 minutes early to be sure you are able to park, lace up the skates properly, check in with the coaches to receive your name tag (which you should bring every week) and find your instructor.

You can register the first day of class, however it is much easier when we have your registration in advance.  We accept cash, check or credit card.  If this is your first time signing up for class this season you will also need to register through USA Hockey or you can sign up through the U.S. Figure Skating program by paying $12 for the annual fee. (*Note Southside will register the skaters through U.S. Figure Skating, parents will need to register the skater with USA Hockey by clicking here.  Skaters with a 2011 birth year or later may sign up free through USA Hockey).

All levels will meet their coach off ice prior to the session starting.

Parents are not allowed on the rink or in the hockey boxes during Learn to Skate.

Where do I start?

All beginning skaters are placed in the Snowplow Sam 1 class (ages 3-5) or the Basic 1 class (ages 6 and up).  The first day the skater will be evaluated to make sure they are in the right level. 

What skates should I put my child in? 

If you have a new skater, we recommend figure skates for the first three sessions.  Figure skates the skater to balance a little easier when they are first starting out.  If the intention is to move the skater to hockey skates, speak with your coach to determine the right time for the transition and make sure the skater is aware of the differences between the two blades.  This will prevent frustration and will prepare the skater for success.

Skates should fit snug, we recommend one size smaller than the shoe size and thin socks or nylons are suggested.

Should I buy or rent?

It is advised to rent skates from the beginning. Once the skater makes the choice between hockey and figure skating, buying can then be discussed. Our coaches have a lot of experience and can point you in the right direction with the skate brand and collection.

What do I wear? 

Skaters are encouraged to wear layers, with gloves/mittens, hats and scarves.  As skaters warm up layers are often shed as the skater acclimates to the cold.  As you move through our program and into our hockey or figure skating programs the skaters may be encouraged to change attire, however that will be determined with time.  Helmets are highly encouraged for all skaters 5 and under. When it comes to ice skates, thin socks work best. 

Ask the Learn to Skate Expert

Liz Winninger

Skate School Coach