Ice Skating

Ice Skating

Mar 20 2018


Triple axel, backspin, sow cow. These words sound like another language, but actually, they’re all names used in ice skating routines. One of the more popular Olympic events, ice skating is also a fun hobby for many people.

In the winter, frozen lakes offer a great spot for people to skate. More serious skaters spend time practicing daily on an indoor rink. Successful ice skaters have amazing balance. They are confident and dedicated to learning their sport well.

People who only skate once in a while might have to admit that they’re terrified to try a move like a jump. If you haven’t had someone to show you the ropes, it’s probably best to simply skate in circles around the ice.

Find out who loves ice skating (and who is scared of it) in this English lesson about winter sports.


Rafael: I’m so nervous right now. This really cute girl asked me out on a date. But she wanted to go ice skating, and I didn’t want to admit it to her, but I am terrified of ice skating.
Marni: I’m sorry that you’re terrified of ice skating. I think it’s such a wonderful activity. I mean, I love it. I love the nostalgia of it. I’ve ice skated ever since I was little, and whenever the Olympics are on, it’s my favorite thing to watch. All the jumps, and the amount of balance it takes… it’s so impressive.
Rafael: Well, Marni, maybe you can show me some stuff. I’m terrible at all those things like balance. And, I don’t know, I feel like you have to be really dedicated to be an ice skater. Do you feel that’s true?
Marni: Well, absolutely. I mean, I think it’s a huge learning curve. And there are so many different levels of proficiency.
Rafael: Can you do jumps?
Marni: I used to be able to do jumps, but I haven’t been practicing so much, and it really does take a lot of practice.
Rafael: Like the triple twirl and things like that?
Marni: Triple axel, I think you’re trying to say.
Rafael: Oh wow, OK. So you really are an expert.
Marni: Well, no, I wouldn’t say I’m an expert. But I really do enjoy ice skating. So I would be happy to take you out and show you the ropes.
Rafael: Well, don’t be modest. You’re really impressive.


Rafael is excited to go on a date with a cute girl he just met. However, she wants to go ice skating, and Rafael is terrified of stepping onto the rink.

It turns out that Marni is just the person to help Rafael. She’s skated ever since she was little, and she loves everything about the sport. She obviously has great balance and wants to show Rafael how ice skating is done.

Rafael asks Marni about how well she can skate. Although Marni doesn’t practice as much now, she’s still pretty good. She even used to be able to do some jumps!

Have you ever gone ice skating? Would you prefer to skate outdoors or on an indoor rink?

Grammar Point

Used to Do vs Be Used to

Marni tells Rafael she used to be able to do jumps, but she can’t anymore. This is an example of the term used to do.

It’s easy to confuse used to do and be used to. Both forms look alike, but they have very different meanings and structures.

First let’s look at used to do, or used to + verb. When I say I used to do something, I mean that I did something regularly in the past which I no longer do now. For example, “When I was a child, I used to fight with my siblings, but now we get along.”

We can also use used to do to talk about something that was true in the past but is not true now, for example, “Drinking alcohol used to be illegal in the U.S.” In other words, drinking alcohol was illegal in the past, but it is no longer illegal.

Be used to means something different. If you are used to something, you are accustomed to it. It is normal or usual for you. Be used to is always followed by a noun or gerund (verb ending in ing). For example, I can say “I am used to the rain,” or that “I am used to staying up late.”

Which is correct, “I am used to drink lots of soda pop,” or, “I used to drink lots of soda pop”?


  1. Why is Rafael terrified of ice skating?

  2. Can Marni do jumps on ice?

  3. If a person spends a lot of time doing something, s/he is very __ to that activity.

  4. Which sentence is correct?

See the full English lesson at English, baby!