Island figure skaters take to the streets this summer with new outdoor blades

LITTLE CURRENT—The ice may be gone for the summer at the Little Current recreation centre, but that hasn’t stopped some members of the Skate Canada Manitoulin Club from continuing to practice thanks to PIC Skates—a new outdoor figure skate with wheels that allows skaters to continue their training in the off season, off the ice.

“I was researching off ice (figure skating) training online when I came across a video of a skater using PIC Skates,” explained Nicole Taylor, whose three daughters are skaters with Skate Canada Manitoulin. “I had never seen anything like them before and the skaters were doing many of the same elements that can be done on the ice. I did about two months worth of research and even called the inventor to find out more information.”

Ms. Taylor told The Expositor that the PIC Skate was invented by a sporting goods designer, John Petell or West Springfield, Massachusetts, in collaboration with Nick Perna of Fairfax, Virgina.

“They work just like figure skates, except you can’t do hockey stops or forward Ts,” continued Ms. Taylor. “They allow skaters to continue their training in the off season with the option of purchasing boots and frames, or simply the frames (with the wheels) that can be mounted directly onto a figure skating boot, replacing the blade that can later be put back on for ice skating.”

The price of PIC Skates run from $300 up to $600 depending on the size and style.

One of Ms. Taylor’s daughters, Shaylee, wanted the PIC Skates so badly that she even saved up half the money in order to purchase them.

“I really like them,” said Shaylee, who has been practicing everywhere from her family basement to the recreation centre tennis courts four times a week since getting her new summer skates. “When I get back to figure skating in the fall I want to be able to start where I left off so I can keep improving.”

Skate Canada Manitoulin coach Abbie Drolet explained “reversal (forgetting what the student has learned) sets in three days off the ice and the body decreases in its ability to perform.”

“It normally takes two to three weeks for a skater to get back to the same skill level after the summer break,” added Ms. Drolet. “The PIC Skates provide skaters with the opportunity to keep training throughout the summer so they don’t lose the skills they have learned and helps them start back up again in the fall more easily. They aren’t a replacement to training on the ice, but they are a good step.”

Ms. Drolet and other members of the club have also ordered PIC Skates and she will be working with Shaylee over the summer starting on skills and even some chorography.

“They provide an opportunity for skaters that wasn’t available before,” concluded Ms. Drolet. “They allow skaters to do much more that what they could do with inline skates. It’s pretty amazing.”

Not only is Skate Canada Manitoulin using innovative technology to continue to improve its skaters’ training, Manitoulin Island will also now be home to the first Canadian retailer of the PIC Skate.

KD Designs in Little Current, owned by Deb McDonald, is now carrying PIC Skates, which is sure to attract figure skaters from across Northern Ontario to try this new training technology.

For more information on PIC Skates visit or KD Designs at, 705-368-2448.

Robin Burridge