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Learn to Skate

The Learn to Skate program provides year-round ice skating lessons and top-level instruction for participants ages 3 years to adult. Have fun, be challenged and reach your potential while safely learning the fundamentals of ice skating.

Our Learn to Skate program follows the Learn to Skate USA curriculum, and we also offer classes for Special Olympians. Learn to Skate USA is the only program endorsed by U.S. Figure Skating, USA Hockey, U.S. Speed Skating and the Special Olympics.

Skaters are organized into small groups with an instructor-to-participant ratio is 1:6 – 1:12, depending on the level.

Looking for hockey skating lessons? Please visit our Learn to Play Hockey page for both youth and adult hockey classes.

Meet the Coordinator: Bernadette Tynan | 303-871-3820 | skate@du.edu.

Program Information

Current Series: July 9 – August 1

Next Series: August 18 – October 17

Ages: 3 years and older

Cost: $128/eight-week series

Register Online


Upcoming Series

Series 6: July 9 – August 1*

Series 1: August 18 – October 17 (no classes on September 1, September 3 or September 5)

Learn to Skate classes are held on Mondays, Wednesdays or Saturdays. Fall, winter and spring series meet once a week for eight weeks.

*The summer series meets twice a week (Mondays and Wednesdays only) for four weeks.

Class Schedule

Snowplow Sam 1-3

All Snowplow Sam Levels (1-4)

Choose one day and time per week.

Mondays: 1:15 p.m. & 5:30 p.m.

Wednesdays: 5:30 p.m.

Saturdays: 9:30 a.m.

Basic 1-6

Basic 1

Choose one day and time per week.

Mondays: 1:15 p.m. & 5:30 p.m.

Wednesdays: 5:30 p.m.

Saturdays: 9:30 a.m. & 10:30 a.m.

Basic 2

Choose one day and time per week.

Mondays: 1:15 p.m. & 5:30 p.m.

Wednesdays: 5:30 p.m.

Saturdays: 9:30 a.m. & 10:30 a.m.

Basic 3

Choose one day and time per week.

Mondays: 1:15 p.m. & 6:30 p.m.

Wednesdays: 6:30 p.m.

Saturdays: 10:30 a.m.

Basic 4

Choose one day and time per week.

Mondays: 1:15 p.m. & 6:30 p.m.

Wednesdays: & 6:30 p.m.

Saturdays: 10:30 a.m.

Basic 5-6

Choose one day and time per week.

Mondays: 6:30 p.m.

Wednesdays: 6:30 p.m.

Saturdays: 10:30 a.m.

Pre-Free Skate/Free Skate 1-6

All Free Skate Levels (Pre-Free Skate & Free Skate 1-6)

Choose one day and time per week.

Mondays: 6:30 p.m.

Wednesdays: 6:30 p.m.

Saturdays: 10:30 a.m.

Adult 1-6

All Adult Levels (1-6)

Choose one day and time per week.

Mondays: 6:30 p.m.

Wednesdays: 6:30 p.m.

Saturdays: 10:30 a.m.

Special Olympics

Special Olympics

Choose one day and time per week.

Saturdays: 9:30 a.m. & 10:30 a.m.

Looking for Learn Hockey Skating, Jr. Pioneers Hockey Pre-Team and Adult Learn to Play Hockey? Check our Learn to Play Hockey page for series dates.

Series Cost & Benefits

$128*/eight-week series*

The Learn to Skate registration fee includes:

  • membership with Learn to Skate USA
  • free skate rental
  • free on-campus parking
  • eight free public skate sessions

Learn to Skate participants may skate during our 30-minute practice sessions on their class day at no additional cost. Parents may skate with their child at no additional cost (including skate rental) during:

  • Mondays and Wednesdays, 6-6:30 p.m.
  • Saturdays, 10-10:30 a.m.

Learn to Skate Levels

Skaters progress into the next level after they pass skill evaluations given by their instructor.

Snowplow Sam

Snowplow Sam (SPS) is designed for beginners, 3 to 5 years old. Upon completion of Snowplow Sam 3, skaters usually advance to the Basic 2 class. Skaters who turn 6 before finishing Snowplow Sam 3 will move into Basic 1 or 2.

Snowplow Sam 1 - Skills

Skaters will learn to:

  • Sit and stand up, on and off ice
  • March in place
  • March forward
  • March, then glide on two feet
  • Dip in place

Snowplow Sam 2 - Skills

Skaters will:

  • March followed by a long glide
  • Dip while moving
  • Learn backward walking, toes turned inward, shifting weight
  • Learn backward wiggles
  • Learn forward swizzles
  • Learn beginning snowplow stop (in place or holding on to a barrier)
  • Learn two-foot hop in place (optional)

Snowplow Sam 3 - Skills

Skaters will learn:

  • Forward skating
  • Forward one-foot glide
  • Forward swizzles
  • Backward swizzles
  • Moving forward snowplow stop (two-foot)
  • Curves

Snowplow Sam 4 - Skills

Skaters will learn:

  • Forward skating
  • Backward two-foot glides
  • Backward swizzles
  • Rocking horses (forward and backward)
  • Two-foot turns from forward and backward, in place (both directions)
  • Two-foot hops in place

Basic Skills

Our Learn to Skate basic skill level classes are designed for beginner and intermediate skaters, ages 6 to 12 years old, and skaters who have completed the Snowplow Sam 3 level.

Basic 1 - Skills

Skaters will learn to:

  • Sit on the ice and stand up
  • March forward across the ice
  • A forward two-foot glide
  • A dip
  • Forward swizzles
  • Backward wiggles
  • Beginning snowplow stop (one or two feet)
  • Bonus skill: Two-foot hop in place

Basic 2 - Skills

Skaters will learn:

  • Scooter pushes (right and left)
  • Forward one-foot glides (right and left)
  • Backward two-foot glide
  • A rocking horse (one forward swizzle, one backward swizzle)
  • Backward swizzles
  • Two-foot turns from forward to backward, in place (clockwise and counterclockwise)
  • Moving snowplow stops
  • Bonus skill: Curves

Basic 3 - Skills

Skaters will learn:

  • Beginning forward stroking showing correct use of blade
  • Forward half swizzle pumps on a circle (clockwise and counterclockwise)
  • Moving forward to backward two-foot turns on a circle (clockwise and counterclockwise)
  • Beginning backward one-foot glides
  • Backward snowplow stop (right and left)
  • Forward slalom
  • Bonus skill: Forward pivots (clockwise and counterclockwise)

Basic 4 - Skills

Skaters will learn:

  • Forward outside edge on a circle (right and left)
  • Forward inside edge on a circle (right and left)/li>
  • Forward crossovers (clockwise and counterclockwise)
  • Backward half swizzle pumps on a circle (clockwise and counterclockwise)
  • Backward one-foot glides (right and left)
  • Beginning two-foot spin
  • Bonus skill: Gorward lunges (both legs)

Basic 5 - Skills

Skaters will learn:

  • Backward outside edge on a circle (right and left)
  • Backward inside edge on a circle (right and left)
  • Backward crossovers (clockwise and counterclockwise)
  • Forward outside three-turn (right and left)
  • Advanced two-foot spin
  • Hockey stops (both directions)
  • Bonus skill: Side toe hops (right and left)

Basic 6 - Skills

Skaters will learn:

  • Forward inside three-turn (right and left)
  • Moving backward to forward two-foot turn on a circle (clockwise and counterclockwise)
  • Backward stroking
  • Beginning one-foot spin (optional free leg position and entry)
  • T-stops (right and left)
  • Bunny hops
  • Forward spiral on a straight line (right or left)
  • Bonus skill: Shoot the duck (right or left)

Pre-Free Skate & Free Skate

Free skate levels are for skaters who have completed the basic skills classes.

Pre-Free Skate - Skills

Skaters will learn:

  • Forward inside open mohawk from standing still (right to left and left to right)
  • Backward crossovers to backward outside edge glides (clockwise and counterclockwise)
  • Backward outside edge to a forward outside edge transition (clockwise and counterclockwise)
  • Forward crossovers into forward mohawk, step down and cross behind, step into backward crossover and step forward inside edge (clockwise and counterclockwise)
  • One-foot upright spin (optional entry and free foot position)
  • Mazurka jumps (right and left)
  • Waltz jumps (right and left)

Free Skate 1 - Skills

Skaters will learn:

  • Forward power stroking (clockwise and counterclockwise)
  • Basic forward outside and forward inside consecutive edges
  • Backward outside three-turns
  • Upright spins, entry from back crossovers
  • Half flip
  • Top loop
  • Bonus skill: Waltz jump/side toe hop/waltz jump sequence or waltz jump/ballet jump/toe loop sequence

Free Skate 2 - Skills

Skaters will learn:

  • Alternating forward outside and inside spirals on a continuous axis
  • Basic backward outside and backward inside consecutive edges
  • Backward inside three-turns
  • Beginning back spin
  • Half lutz
  • Salchow
  • Bonus skill: Variation of a forward spiral (skater’s choice)

Free Skate 3 - Skills

Skaters will learn:

  • Alternating backward crossovers to back outside edges
  • Alternating mohawk/crossover sequence (right to left and left to right)
  • Waltz three-turns (forward outside three-turn, backward outside edge glide, clockwise and counterclockwise)
  • Advanced back spin with free foot in crossed leg position
  • Loop jump
  • Waltz jump/toe loop or Salchow/toe loop combination
  • Bonus skill: Toe step sequence using a variety of toe steps (skater’s choice)

Free Skate 4 - Skills

Skaters will learn:

    • Forward power three-turns (right and left)
    • Waltz eight (clockwise and counterclockwise)
    • Forward upright spin to backward upright spin
    • Sit spin
    • Half loop
    • Flip jump
    • Bonus skill: Split jump, stag jump or split falling leag

Free Skate 5 - Skills

Skaters will learn:

      • Backward outside three-turn, mohawk (backward power three-turns, clockwise and counterclockwise)
      • Five-step mohawk sequence (clockwise and counterclockwise)
      • Camel spin
      • Waltz jump/loop jump combination
      • Lutz jump
      • Bonus skill: Loop/loop combination

Free Skate 6 - Skills

Skaters will learn:

      • Forward power pulls (right and left)
      • Creative step sequence using a variety of turns, mohawks and toe steps (skater’s choice)
      • Camel/sit spin combination
      • Layback or attitude spin, or cross-foot spin
      • Waltz jump/half loop/Salchow sequence
      • Axel jump
      • Bonus skill: Backward outside pivot (optional entry)

Adult Learn to Skate

The Adult Learn to Skate program is for adults who have never skated or those wanting to improve their current skills. Classes are taught in a workshop style where the instructor introduces a new skill and then allows participants time to practice that skill and master it. Classes include 30-minutes of instruction and an additional 30-minute practice session.

Adult 1 - Skills

Skaters will learn:

      • Falling and recovery on the ice
      • Forward marching
      • Forward two-foot glide
      • Forward swizzles
      • One forward swizzle/one backward swizzle (rocking horse)
      • Dips
      • Forward snowplow stop (two feet or one foot)

Adult 2 - Skills

Skaters will learn:

      • Forward skating across the width of the ice
      • Forward one-foot glides (right and left)
      • Forward slalom
      • Backward skating
      • Backward swizzles
      • Two-foot turns in place

Adult 3 - Skills

Skaters will learn:

      • Forward stroking using the blade properly (begin with repetitive one-foot pushes)
      • Forward half-swizzle pumps on the circle (clockwise and counterclockwise)
      • Moving forward to backward and backward to forward two-foot turn on a circle (clockwise and counterclockwise)
      • Backward skating into a long two-foot glide
      • Forward chasses on a circle (clockwise and counterclockwise)
      • Backward snowplow stop (right and left)

Adult 4 - Skills

Skaters will learn:

      • Forward outside edge on a circle (right and left)
      • Forward inside edge on a circle (right and left)
      • Forward crossovers (clockwise and counterclockwise)
      • Backward one-foot glides (right and left)
      • Backward half-swizzle pumps on a circle (clockwise and counterclockwise)
      • Hockey stops (both directions)

Adult 5 - Skills

Skaters will learn:

      • Backward outside edge on a circle (right and left)
      • Backward inside edge on a circle (right and left)
      • Backward crossovers (clockwise and counterclockwise)
      • Forward outside three-turn (right and left)
      • Forward swing rolls to a count of six
      • Beginning two-foot spin

Adult 6 - Skills

Skaters will learn:

      • Forward stroking with crossover end patterns
      • Backward stroking with crossover end patterns
      • Forward inside three-turn (right and left)
      • Forward outside to inside change of edge on a line (right and left)
      • T-stop (right or left)
      • Lunge
      • Two-foot spin into one-foot spin

Hockey Skating

Please visit our Learn to Play Hockey page for more information about youth and adult hockey lessons.

2018 Learn to Skate Holiday Exhibition

Learn to Skate participants registered in Series 2 (beginning in October) are invited to take part in our annual Learn to Skate Holiday Exhibition on Saturday, December 8, 2018, from 1:00-2:00 p.m. It is a chance for participants to practice and perform their skating skills.

Practices are held on the same day are participants’ regular class in the 30-minute open skate sessions in between classes.

Cost & Registration

Cost: $45/skater

More information about registration will be made available in October.

Series 6 registration

All levels: Now open

If you’re interested in a class that has reached the maximum enrollment or a class that has already started, please call 303-871-3820.

Register Online

Contact Us

For additional information on Learn to Skate, please contact Bernadette Tynan at 303-871-3820 or skate@du.edu, or complete the interest form below.

Learn to Skate Interest Form

Affiliation with DU:
Programs of Interest:
Best Time to Contact:
Preferred Method of Contact:

Frequently Asked Questions

What should my child wear and bring for class?

We suggest the following clothing for skaters:

      • long pants
      • long-sleeved shirt
      • a light jacket or coat
      • mittens or gloves
      • thin socks (at least ankle-high)
      • a hockey or bike helmet (highly recommended)

Skate rental is included with your Learn to Skate registration, though you are welcome to bring your own skates.

Each participant will also receive a name tag at their first class, which should be worn at each session.

Where do I park, and how do I get a parking permit?

There are several parking options around the Ritchie Center. After you have registered for Learn to Skate, you can request a Ritchie Center parking permit by please visiting www.parking.du.edu or calling 303-871-3210. Your permit will be mailed to you within 7-10 days of your request. If you need a temporary parking permit for your first Learn to Skate session, please contact our Learn to Skate Coordinator at 303-871-3820.

Where should I meet my class?

All Snowplow Sam and Basic 1 participants will meet their instructor off the ice during the first week of the series. All other skaters will meet the instructor on the ice under the designated sign for their level.

How old does my child have to be to participate in Learn to Skate?

Snowplow Sam: 3 years and older

Basic 1: 6 years and older

What are the skills requirements for each level?

Each level has specific skill sets that must be met before advancing to the next level. For more information regarding specific skill sets and level appropriateness, please visit our Learn to Skate class levels page.

How do I know when my child is ready for the next level?

At the end of each series, your child will receive a progress report that indicates the level for which the instructor feels your child is read. It may take more than one series to progress through some of the levels.

How many lessons do I receive per series?

Our eight-week series includes eight lessons.

Are classes divided by age?

Classes are divided by age for the beginning levels. Snowplow Sam 1-3 is for ages 3-5. Basic 1-8 is for ages 6-12. Free Skate is for ages 6-15.

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