How Sharp Are Ice Skates? (Experiment & Dangers)
Ice skates come in many sizes and shapes, yet they all have sharp blades underneath the boot you use to ice skate with. I recently saw a fun experiment that sparked an idea to do one of my own. In this article, I will explain how sharp ice skates are, try them on various everyday ingredients, reveal whether they can cause accidents, and much more! But first, how sharp are ice skates?
Ice skates are sharp to have a good bite on the ice, ensuring consistent and confident movement. However, ice skates aren’t sharp as knives, and you won’t be able to get a cut on your hand by slightly toughing the blade, unlike with knives. Although, enough speed and contact can cause injuries.
They are sharp enough to give you great traction on the ice when your weight is on top of them. Add the speed to the equation, which is when they can become dangerous, but more on that later.
Now, before moving on to the dangers of ice skates and whether they can cut ingredients to demonstrate sharpness, let’s examine whether ice skates are sharp straight out of the box or whether you need to sharpen your ice skates.
Related: How To Sharpen Ice Skates?
Do Ice Skates Come Sharp?
Ice skates definitely are sharp. However, as ice skates aren’t broken in (learn how to break in skates) when they are fresh out of the box, it makes you wonder whether they are sharp or need to be sharpened?
Generally, ice skates aren’t pre-sharpened, so you will need to sharpen them after buying them. The first sharpening is the most important as the blades haven’t ever been sharpened, so the flat and round shape needs to be sharpened to the right edge to give traction.
I recommend going to a professional sharpener after buying new skates, or if you have or know someone with a pro machine such as the SPARX Electronic Skate Sharpener, that’s your best option to get a great edge on your skates.
Another alternative is a portable skate sharpener that is easy to use, affordable, and convenient as you can carry it in your pocket, backpack, or wherever. Just be sure to sharpen your new skates one way or another.
Can Ice Skates Cut?
I promised you an experiment in this article, and now it’s a good time to show the results. Below you can see everyday ingredients I tried to cut with a skate’s blade and a table on whether they were easy, medium, or hard to cut. Note that the skate I used has been on the ice for some time, so they are mediocre in sharpness.
I learned that the harder and denser the ingredient, the harder it was to cut. Also, the blade’s sharpness wasn’t the biggest problem, but the thickness. Knives are extremely thin, making them cut easier, which is just something ice skates don’t have.
Oh, and you should know that I washed the blade and used all the ingredients I cut, so nothing went to waste!
Ingredients aside, ice hockey is a high-contact sport, and the blades are sharp, making you wonder whether they can cut more than bananas. Ice skate blades have caused many injuries; here, you can find a video of the most horrific one. Don’t watch the video if you’re faint-hearted, but I’ll tell the story below.
In short, in an NHL game in 1989, a player’s skate made contact with the goalie Clint Malarchuk’s neck, which then sliced his carotid artery and partially his jugular vein. This immediately caused massive blood loss from his neck. However, James Pizzutelli, an athletic trainer and Vietnam War veteran, saved his life as he made it to Clint 14 seconds after the incident, applying pressure on the neck and keeping the blood in. Fortunately, Clint Malarchuk survived, as the injury was incredibly serious. Let’s move to brighter thoughts.
How Sharp are Olympic Ice Skates?
When talking about ice skating and the Olympics, only figure skating and speed skating are included. If you don’t know what they are, you can find both comparisons with hockey below.
Now, the Olympics are the most demanding place for sports where the best of the best are competing. That said, how sharp are Olympic ice skaters’ figure and speed skates?
Olympic ice skates are very sharp because only the finest quality is required, and there’s no room for errors. Thus, the skates are sharpened consistently to provide the best performance for the Olympic athletes. In figure skates, the toepick is the sharpest as it needs to penetrate the ice to do jumps.
However, there’s a thing as too sharp ice skates as well. In high-quality ice skating, the blade’s hollow and its relation to the skater’s body weight must be accounted for.
If a heavy ice skater skates with too deep a hollow, the blade will bite the ice too much, making stopping and overall movement difficult. In contrast, if a light skater wears too shallow hollows, the bite won’t be enough to skate optimally.
The relation between the blade hollow and Olympic ice skater’s weight is accounted for, as it’s a means to increase one’s performance further.