The winter winds are about to start blowing, and with that will come dry, flaky skin if you are not careful. For some people the cold is even worse, causing cracking and even eczema. This is not only an unsightly skin condition, it is painful.

It isn’t just being outdoors in the cold that causes dry skin. Once you step inside the heat of your home, the skin will dry out even further. This is true no matter what method you are using to keep your house comfortable in the winter.


Following these tips will help prevent facial dryness and keep your skin looking healthy until the first flowers of spring start to bloom.

  • Wash your face with care. Winter is not the time for harsh soaps and exfoliating products. Use a moisturizing soap applied with a konjac sponge to help keep your face clean without drying it out. This combination will still deep clean your pores but will also leave the natural oils behind that your face relies on to keep from drying out.
  • Use more moisturizer. The moisturizer you use in the summer will not be as effective in the winter. For exceptionally dry skin an ointment moisturizer that is oil based will help to create a protective layer between your skin and the elements. If you pick moisturizers that use avocado or almond oil, you shouldn’t have to worry about it clogging your pores.
  • Use make up products with SPF. Sun damage is not just for the summer, and when you add the element of glare from snow, it is exemplified. Don’t forget the ears and neck if they are also exposed.
  • Don’t forget to protect your hands. The skin on the hands is thinner than on anywhere else on the body, which leads to dryness quickly. Keep them moisturized when inside and make sure that you are always wearing gloves when you head outdoors.
  • Use a humidifier indoors. A humidifier will add moisture to the heated air in your home, cutting down on the effect it can have on your skin. You can place portable ones inside of your rooms, or talk with your home heating company about installing a whole house humidifier.
  • Take colder showers. That may not sound very comfortable in the winter, but hot water is stripping your skin of its essential fluids. Turn the hot water down when showering to help your skin keep a healthy sheen in winter.

It is much easier to prevent dry skin in the winter than it will be to treat it. By following these tips you are setting up a healthy base for your skin to better face the changing elements that winter brings.


Back when “Life” magazine was still being called “The Show-Book of the World” an interesting figure appeared amongst its page. The 66 year old Chinese man had been photographed pulling off a smooth move on the ice, while wearing one of the coolest beards in ice skating history. The photograph is simple, yet is still one that stirs the soul for the beauty of the sport.

At this time, the prospectus for the publication was “To see life, to see the world… to see strange things – machines, armies, multitudes, shadows in the jungle and on the moon… to see things thousands of miles away.” It was not long afterwards that the editors shortened the magazine’s name to what we now know as simply “Life”.

In the winter of 1946, in the after days of the war that shook the whole world, one of the magazines photographers captured an image of a Chinese man skating on a plate of ice. The photo of Mr. Wu Tang-shem shows his leg and torso perfectly perpendicular to the ice below. Adding even more intrigue to the photo is the awesome beard that the old man is maintaining. We don’t know what types of grooming tips for beards he was getting, or if he even had access to beard balm or beard oil or even an old school boar brush, but the lack of any is certainly not evident on his face.

The brief text that described the scene read:

Once a week during the winter a slight, bearded, 66-year-old Chinese gentleman named Wu Tang-shen solemnly pads his way down to the ice pond in the Forbidden City section of [Beijing], changes his sandals for a pair of 20th-century skates and spends a quiet Chinese afternoon cutting complicated figures on the ice. There a short while ago LIFE photographer Jack Wilkes discovered and photographed Mr. Wu while he executed his pirouettes, crosscuts, beaks and spread eagles with the ease of an accomplished figure skater of the old school.

At the age of 16 Mr. Wu cut these capers for the Empress of China and was rewarded with a pension of five taels of silvers ($4) per month for life. But the Manchu dynasty [now commonly referred to as the Qing Dynasty] unfortunately died before Mr. Wu, and now Mr. Wu works for a living as a merchant. His skating still retains its former grace, and the figures he cuts are those of Western skaters. There is no figure 8 in Chinese.

It is nice to know that even in the shadow of war, and in a culture that for all intent and purpose was well underprivileged, the fine art of figure skating was practiced with zeal.


Winter starts early in Scandinavian countries like Finland, giving skaters who prefer the outdoors more time to keep their skates laces. This is a beautiful part of the world, that when blanketed in ice and snow, can literally take your breath away.

Free Skating in Scandinavia

What makes a trip to northern Europe even more advantageous for the avid skater are the number of free rinks that are available. Unlike other parts of the world, the Scandinavian countries have very liberal policies when it comes to allowing tourists and citizens to make use of their natural wonders. This means that many of the innumerable ponds and lakes in the area are open for free skating, as well as a number of official rinks in the major cities.

Long Distance Skating

An innovative sporting event that takes place in parts of Scandinavia is long distance skating. These adventures can be scheduled for a day trip, or spread out over a weekend or longer. Expect to travel each day about the same distance you would on a bike trip in the summer. Since this is a different form of skating, you will need to be outfitted with special long distance skates that use a ski boot fashioned with long thin blades to make it easier on your ankles and legs.


Other Winter Sports

Known for their perfect blankets of snow in the winter, Scandinavia is rich in all winter sports, not just ice skating. The mountains are home to dozen of ski trails of all different levels, where athletes can ski or snowboard to their hearts content. This is a land where those who embrace the cold and being outside in it will truly feel at home.

Scandinavia and Saunas

One of the more unique aspects to Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland is their obsession with the best saunas anywhere in the world. This spa therapy is considered a part of life, not a luxury, with major business deals often being conducted amidst a spray of hot steam. You’ll find a sauna in just about every town you visit, including the more beneficial infrared sauna. If you have used a portable infrared sauna at home to ease aching muscles from skating, then you are already familiar with its benefits. The light from a portable infrared sauna is able to deeply penetrate the body, releasing toxins and easing pain right down to the bones.

A winter trip to Scandinavia is a must for the ice skating enthusiast. This exquisite part of the world has thousands of bodies of natural frozen water just waiting for you to do your figure eights on.

Over the decades, young girls have been inspired by an array of figure skating Olympic Champions who showed grace both on and off the ice. Here are our 4 favorite queens of the ice, and a brief look at what they are accomplishing now.

Peggy Fleming – Back in 1968, Peggy Fleming was the only athlete representing the United States who took home a gold medal. This made her the very first figure skater to have achieved celebrity status for her talents on the ice.

Peggy has retired from skating and is now a grandma and breast cancer survivor. She worked for years with ABC sports behind the scenes before deciding to leave the world of sports behind her and focus on her family and her health.

Dorothy Hamill – Dorothy Hamill was only 19 when she took home the gold at the 1976 Olympic games in Austria, and launched a bowl shaped hair cut craze with women all over the world. She went on to become a headliner with Ice Capades and win five World Professional Titles before calling it a career.

Still sporting a modern version of her bowl-styled do, Dorothy was seen most recently as a contestant on the popular series “Dancing With the Stars”. Like Penny, Dorothy has battled breast cancer and has also written a book about her lifelong battle with breast cancer.

Tara Lipinski – Tara showed young girls all over the world that dreams do come true when she won a gold medal at the tender age of 15. This was during the 1998 games in Nagano, and to date there has not been another skater that young to reach that milestone.

Due to various hip injuries, Lipinski had to retire from the ice too early, but still works as an analyst for the Olympics. She is also a special correspondent for Extra TV offering her professional expertise as a skating commentator.

Nancy Kerrigan – The story of Nancy Kerrigan will likely be told in the skating world for generations. After a bronze medal win at the 1992 Olympics, the young star was brutally injured by a fellow skater, Tonya Harding. She made it to the 1994 Olympics despite the injury and was awarded a silver medal.

ANANCY KERRIGAN USAfter the 1994 Olympics Nancy went on to become the face of Walt Disney World as well as starring in a number of ice skating shows. She has also appeared in movies and on the short lived “Skating With the Celebrities”. She refrains from talking about the Harding scandal, preferring to focus on the positive points of her skating career.

These woman are inspirations to girls all over the world. Despite the circumstance, they always wore a bright smile – they must hand out electric toothbrushes and water flossers like these at Olympic skating camp because all of the skaters have gorgeous smiles – and went on to continued success, even after hanging up the skates.

Anyone who has spent a substantial amount of time skating will tell you that at some point you are going to fall, and it is going to hurt. Even the pros hit the ice sometimes, and if the impact is forceful enough, suffer injury. The following is meant to help you identify skate injuries, their treatments, and how you can avoid them from happening in the first place.

The most common way in which an ice skater is injured is by falling on the ice. This is inevitable when you think about the mechanics of skating. Thin blades carrying your full weight over slippery ice does not necessarily make for the safest environment.

Collisions are also common, especially with inexperienced skaters. These can be with other skaters or with stationary objects like the side boards of an indoor skating rink. This type of impact can cause serious injury depending on the speed of the skater before the collision.

Since humans have a natural instinct to brace when falling, bruising and swelling of the knees and wrists are one of the most common injuries seen, especially after a fall. Even if you think that the injury is minor, you should still see a doctor to make sure that the knee was not injured or the wrist did not suffer a fracture. This is common as during the brace the full weight of a skater’s body is forced onto the small joint.

How Are Skater Injuries Diagnosed?

Because of the nature of the sport, doctors will usually first perform a physical exam to check the extent of any injury, and then order imaging tests to ensure that the bones, ligaments and tendons in the affected area were not damaged. This is most often accomplished with an ultrasound, as this is a non-invasive and safe method for medical imaging.

The ultrasound is an easy procedure where an ultrasound technician gently moves a lubricated wand over the injury. Using sound waves, an image of the anatomy is formed and then transferred to a screen attached to the wand. The ultrasound technician has been specially trained at school to read the subsequent image and identify abnormalities in the anatomy. They then share the results with your physician who will recommend treatment.

Head trauma is also prevalent in skating accidents if skater impacts with a standing object. In this case the physician will be concerned with concussion and order the same type of imaging exam to rule it out. A concussion can be serious if not treated immediately, so be sure that if you do bang your head in a skating accident that you consult with a doctor immediately.

While skating is a fun and healthy sport to partake in, it does come with a certain level of risk for injury. Always practice safe skating measures and stay within your expertise to avoid being benched from the ice because of an injury.

If you are lucky enough to have a small body of water near your home, you have the chance to show off your skating skills in the open air. This can be dangerous though, so before you grab your skates and go for it, follow these safety tips.

Ice is unpredictable in the outdoors and can form thicker in some areas than others. If your frozen pond is covered in a layer of snow, your first chore is to clear it. Without a clear view of the ice surface, this can be dangerous so never go at it alone. Work with at least one other person but never close together. Having a partner won’t do you any good if you both fall into the ice at the same time.

pond_skaterAs you are shoveling, keep an eye open for thin patches of ice or pools of water. Shade can make some areas of a pond or lake freeze better then others, and if you are out in  a sunnier area the lake could be thinner.

Keep the noise to a minimum and instead listen to the ice as you shovel. As it begins to break apart, ice will often make a squealing or cracking sound. If you begin to hear that, run to dry land. Also keep an eye out for cracks, especially if they are seeping water. This is a sure sign that the warmer water below is starting to make the ice thaw.

Don’t expect your dog to save you. People have a misconception that dogs are able to sense thicker ice. This is true, but dogs are also significantly lighter than humans, with their weight spread out over four legs instead of two. If you have a curious dog, turn on your K9 containment fence and keep him safe at home. If you don’t have a pet containment system like the PIF 300 which is reviewed here installed for your dog, read some reviews and have one installed. With something as dangerous as a lake near your home, you don’t want to take any chances with your pet.

If your shoveling partner does fall into the ice, resist the urge to run and save them. Instead, use a long rope or stick and throw it to them while laying on your belly. It’s the same concept as the dog and four legs, if you spread your body weight out, you will have a better chance of staying on top of thawing ice rather than under it.

Your friend should use the rope to pull themselves out of the water and roll away from the hole as soon as they clear it. Staying on their belly they should work their way to dry land as opposed to standing up and running.

If you do get lucky and your pond is completely frozen over, be prepared for a skating experience like no other. Skating outside is tranquil and calming, especially when it is just you, your friend and the ice. Enjoy this chance while you can, but take every possible precaution before taking advantage of a frozen pond.

After watching last years biathlon in Sochi, it became easy to see how ski archery could be a fun sport. With a recurve bow replacing the rifle, cross country skiers could still shoot at targets, albeit in a much quieter fashion.

Ski archery dates back to the Nordic region in 1540 and was rediscovered by cross country skiers in Italy who recognized its unique quality and brought it back to popularity in 1991. Since than it has been slowly building a momentum among winter sport lovers and is now being practiced regularly across Europe, in Japan, the Ukraine and in the United States.

How Does Ski Archery Work?

Carrying their recurve bow in a backpack, cross country skiers set out on  a course of 8 to 12 kilometers As they approach targets they must get into a kneeling positon and shoot four arrows from their recurve bow. The targets are all positioned 18 meters away from the athlete and are a very small 16 centimeters in diameter.

The skier must hit the target with all four shots, or face a penalty. For each arrow that does not make its mark, the athlete must make an extra 350 meter circuit on skis before being able to move on to the next area. It is fun to watch, and certainly hard to master, but if you already have an affinity for shooting a recurve bow, it is definitely worth the try.

Could This Be an Event for Skaters Too?

This format would not work well with figure skaters, but it could work if there were more cross country skating events taking place. Snow skates could be used, or long bodies of water that have completely frozen over for the winter. One of the challenges for the skier is learning how to find their new center of gravity when carrying the weight of  a recurve bow and arrows, and the skater would face this same difficulty.

Before setting out to see if this is a feasible way to add a new and exciting element to skating, first try out your skills at archery by itself. The target being used in ski archery is more than half of the size of a traditional target, making it imperative that the athlete be more than adept at aiming a recurve bow before taking it on. There are a number of archery target practices scattered around the world where you can take aim and practice even in the winter months.

Winter sports lovers are also looking to make their sport more competitive and challenging. The same can be done with skating. Look into ways to add elements of surprise to your sport starting with involving bows and arrows.

Growing up in Vermont, renowned figure skater Ross Miner has been on the ice since he was two years old. He is an Olympic caliber championship skater who takes the sport very seriously. As a result he has incorporated staying in shape for skating into all aspects of his life. Even when on the road for events or for vacation, he tries as hard as possible to stick to his routine.

Days start early for a figure skater like Ross Miner who is usually at the gym by 6:30 in the morning. It is important to do leg exercises daily such as lunges and foam rollers not only to build muscle strength but to work out the ankles for stability and balance.  This type of exercise is usually done at a gym, but is just as easy to do at home or when out on the road.

RossMiner is also an avid outdoor sportsman and spent a good part of his summers growing up camping, hiking and fishing. He still enjoys these activities during the spring and summer months, and admits to conforming his workouts so that he can perform them right outside of his family tent. For an athlete who spends most of his days inside of skating arenas, it is a treat to wake up, roll out of a tent, fire up the grill for a hearty breakfast, and start the day in the middle of the wilderness.

When home, Miner does go to the rink after his morning workout to practice his performances, do laps around the rink and experiment with new moves. When vacationing, he will either try and find an indoor rink close by to at least practice some of his routine, or skip it and exercise by rowing around a lake or taking a jog on the hiking trails. This helps in keeping both his body and mind in shape even when on a vacation.

Even though skating is serious sport Miner knows that the most important thing is to have fun while doing it. Especially with a sport that is as grueling as figure skating can be. As he says, you are going to fall, and you are going to mess up, but if you learn not to take each small mistake as a fatal one, you are going to enjoy the sport more and excel at it.

Ross Miner can teach aspiring professional skaters a thing or two about having a good time, and striving for excellence. He has managed to find the perfect way to balance his passion for skating with an adventurous and active life off of the ice.

"Jyväskylä - ice skating" by Tiia Monto. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
"Jyväskylä - ice skating" by Tiia Monto. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Jyväskylä – ice skating” by Tiia Monto. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Whether you are looking to win a race, or go out on a breakaway, skating faster on the rink would be great. For many kids, and some adults, they never learn how to skate faster the correct way. The assumption is that if you simply skate often enough, eventually over time you will learn how to skate faster. This is certainly not the case. There are techniques you can learn that will help you to sail down the ice at much higher speeds, allowing you to blow by your opponents. If you are looking for some ways to improve your skating, we have some tips that will help you out.

The first thing you want to learn is to swing your arm. Swinging your arm will give you extra momentum and allow you to pick up speed. If you are carrying a stick, you can still complete the arm swing using only one hand. Learn to swing your arm as you take strides, using the motion to push you forward.

The next thing to think about is your range of motion. Imagine for a second trying to race down the ice with your skates tied. Without even trying it you know that it would not go very well. This image alone is enough to show you how important your range of motion is. Before you skate, be sure you stretch out your hips so that they can get a full range of motion. You don’t want to be stiff when you get out onto the ice, as it will severely limit your performance.

Third, you want to maximize the amount of force you are applying to the ice. The harder you can push off with each step, the faster you will be able to go. This is why so many athletes spend time in the gym working on their leg muscles. When you push off the ice, remember that you should not be pushing straight down. Instead, you want to be pushing down and out, almost at an angle. This will propel your feet forward instead of up.

Lastly, focus how you are transitioning from one step to the next. The fewer strides you can take while you are skating, the less energy you will exert and the faster you will go. Transitioning requires proper balance and focus. If you take a look at kids learning to skate, you will see their legs working really hard, but their body is barely moving. This is because they have a poor transitioning technique. You need to learn how to glide and switch from leg to leg to maximize your performance.

Hopefully these few tips were able to help you learn about power skating. Learning to skate fast is not something you can solely read about on the internet however. You need to get out there and practice as much as you can. It is important to practice the right way however, and to turn these tips into habits. Keep them in the back of your mind as you skate, and you should be out racing everyone else on the rink before long.

"Ice Skate Rink, Rockefeller Center" by Andy C - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
"Ice Skate Rink, Rockefeller Center" by Andy C - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Ice Skate Rink, Rockefeller Center” by Andy COwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Learning to ice skate can be a difficult process. You need to balance on a tiny blade on a slippery sheet of ice. No matter who you are, chances are that you are going to fall down quite a bit when you are learning to skate. To help you out with this process a little bit, we have compiled some basic ice skating tips to get you started. Our hope is that if you follow our advice, you will learn to ice skate a little bit quicker, and with a little more ease.

1. Keep Your Head Up – One common mistake that people make is they try to look at their feet when they are skating. Our brains try and control our feet to make them stay straight, and to do this we feel the need to see where we are going. A better idea is to look straight ahead, and keep your eyes off of your feet. At the very least, you will be able to see if you are about to collide with someone!

2. Get Good Skates – There is a big difference between a cheap pair of skates, and a quality set. When you are learning to skate, you want to be sure that you have a good pair. This will make skating more comfortable, and will encourage you to keep at it.

3. Lace Em Up – If you tie your skate incorrectly, they will be uncomfortable no matter how good they are. Make sure they are not too tight or too loose. You want your feet to have room to breathe, while also having enough support.

4. Warm Up – Before you start skating, be sure to warm up. Ice skating rinks are cold, and using cold muscles can lead to injury. Be sure to stretch yourself out and do some warm up exercises before you go onto the rink, so that your muscles can be nice and warm.

5. Take Lessons – If you are having trouble getting the hang of skating yourself, consider taking some lessons. Local rinks will usually be able to help you out and get you an instructor, and they can make the whole process go a lot faster.

6. Don’t Lean Back – Try not to lean backwards while you are skating. Doing so will likely have you falling backwards onto your rear end. Keep your knees bent and your weight forward. If you need help balancing, keep your arms out wide in front of you.

7. Stopping – Once you get going, you need to know how to stop, otherwise you’ll be using the nearby walls to slow you down. To stop, turn your toes inward and push out on your heels. This will slow you down enough until you stop.

8. Follow The Rink – When you get to a public rink, you will notice everyone skating in the same direction. Be sure to go in the same direction to avoid hurting yourself or others.

9. Have Fun! – Our last tip is simply to enjoy ice skating. It can be a very fun activity once you get the hang of it. Just keep at it, and before long you’ll be flying around the rink with ease. Enjoy!