|What is Short Track Speedskating?
Short track speedskating is racing on ice on a 111 meter track. It's highly tactical and requires strength, endurance and skill. It is an Olympic sport and there are State, National and World Championships every year. Short track is pack-style racing among groups of 4 to 6 skaters. Speeds can approach 30 mph during sprint races. Races are from 111 meters for tiny tots up to 10k for adults. A standard meet will have a 500m, 1000m and a 1500m race for most skaters. A 3000m race or a relay is included if time permits.
What is the Northern California Speedskating Association?
The NCSA is an affiliate of U.S. Speedskating, the governing body of speedskating from the Club level to the Olympic level. The NCSA was founded in 1988 to support Short Track ice speedskating at the Club level in the Bay Area and has expanded to the Sacramento Area.
The Clubs within the Association currently are the Oakland Ice Speedskaters (Oakland), the Silicon Valley Short Circuits (San Jose), and the Sierra Speedskaters (Roseville). The Clubs put on race meets every year, host the State Championships every other year and have hosted the National Championships most recently in 1999. The Clubs provide reserved ice time for structured Short Track speedskating practice sessions, coaching, padded rink walls and some loaner equipment. There are active NCSA members living throughout Northern California, including past and present National Champions of all age levels.
How can I learn to speedskate?
Public sessions are a good place to learn basic speed skating skills. Having your own skates that you are familiar with is helpful. Our speed sessions have a portion of time devoted to lessons and training drills. The focus of the sessions will change throughout the year. The summer months are usually oriented towards skating skills, strength and endurance. The winter months are geared more towards speed, tactics and racing techniques.
Who can skate?
Anyone can skate. Our members are from 6 to 70 years old, from novice ability up to National Class Champions. Our members vary from casual skaters who skate for fitness, to highly competitive skaters. Cyclists, runners and inline skaters use short track for cross training.
When is the Short Track season?
Regular speed sessions continue throughout the year with more emphasis on technique and endurance during the summer months. Short track racing starts in October and continues through March.
When/where are the practice sessions and what do they cost?
See the sessions page for sessions and loaner equipment information.
When and where are the races?
The local meets are held at Oakland Ice Center, Logitech Ice, and Roseville Skatetown. Skaters also travel up and down the West Coast to regional meets in Los Angeles, Eugene, Oregon and Tacoma, Washington and Canada. The Nationals and World Team Championships are held at various locations around the United States. The U.S. World Team competes internationally and in the winter Olympics.
Where can I buy equipment online?
See our vendor links.
What kind of boots should I buy?
Short track boots are made of carbon fiber, kevlar, fiberglass and leather. There are two studs or bolt holes spaced 6 1/2" apart on the sole. These are used to attach blades or inline frames to the bottom of the boot. Currently the most popular "off-the-shelf" boot is the Bont 'Hustler', available in standard models or custom ones made from casts of feet. If price is a factor, there is the entry level Bont Sharkie boot. Custom boots are available from Bont, Ram, Marchese, and several private manufacturers in the US.
What kind of blades should I buy?
Blades vary in length from 13" to 18". The width of the blades can vary from 1.1mm to 1.4 mm. Hardness can vary from 60 rockwell to 68 rockwell. Speed skating blades are flat ground as compared to the hollow ground found on figure or hockey skates. Brand new blades should be sharpened before you skate on them. The handling characteristics of blades are determined by their length, width, radius, bend and composition. In general, as blade surface in contact with the ice increases, top speed also increases, but then maneuverability decreases. Popular blades are Maple, Bont, Zandstra, Pennington, Swift, Darkstar and Viking. Maple and Bont both offer a wide selection of blades and are popular among beginning skaters.
What equipment do I need?
All speed skaters should have: Boots, blades, helmet(mandatory-bike OK), gloves(mandatory-any), long-sleeved shirt (mandatory), neckguard (mandatory for races), eye protection, wrenches, blade covers, and towel to dry blades. The following items are recommended:Sharpening jig, sharpening stones, and deburring stones.
What clothes should I wear?
Skinsuits, tights or sweats with long-sleeved shirts, and a warm-up jacket.