Figure Skating Levels: Snowplow Sam

Written By: Riedell | July 11, 2023

Getting your children involved in sports is an excellent way to enhance the development of their gross and fine motor skills, provide them with invaluable socializing opportunities, and build their self-esteem. Figure skating is a competitive, fun, and exciting sport for all ages, and Snowplow Sam offers a perfect step-by-step introductory course to figure skating for kids. 

Snowplow Sam is a progressive skating skill program from Learn to Skate USA, which is endorsed by U.S. Figure Skating, USA Hockey, and US Speedskating. Other organizations offer skating curriculums as well, but this article will focus on Snowplow Sam.

Snowplow Sam encompasses four levels of ice skating classes, which will teach your children the essential physical literacy and fundamental movement skills necessary for figure skating. Each level aims to teach children ages 6 and under the ABCs of movement (Agility, Balance, Coordination) and speed. 

The instruction in these beginner skating lessons is presented alongside fun games and activities that enhance your child’s progress and make the class an enjoyable experience for everyone. Read on to learn what each of the levels has to offer your child.

Snowplow Sam 1

The first level of Snowplow Sam is designed to get your child comfortable with being on the ice. During this stage, they’ll learn the basics of how to maintain their balance and become more comfortable wearing skates on the ice. 

First, children are taught how to safely and efficiently stand up and sit down on the ice without skates on. Once they’ve mastered that skill, they’ll learn how to perform those movements with skates on. 

Next, they’re taught how to march in place. This will help build their confidence and help them get a feel for moving on the ice. They’ll then be instructed to march forward 8-10 steps. 

The final skills taught in Snowplow Sam 1 teach children how to march and then glide on two feet. Once they’ve mastered all of that and learned how to dip in place, they can move on to Snowplow Sam 2!

Snowplow Sam 2

When your child advances to Snowplow Sam 2, they’re going to be learning more about moving on the ice. They’ll start by learning to march and glide and dip while moving. The pace of the class will start to pick up a bit at this point as your child becomes more confident in their abilities on the ice.

They’ll be taught the correct technique for backward walking, which involves toes turning inward while shifting their weight. They’ll learn backward wiggles, forward swizzles, and the beginning snowplow stop motion while in place or holding onto the rink barrier. 

Some children may learn a two-foot hop during this stage, but it’s not required for them to master this skill before moving on to the next level. The goal of this stage is to teach children simple movements on the ice while building their confidence and developing their understanding of basic techniques.

Snowplow Sam 3

Snowplow Sam 3 is where children will get to try out some more complicated techniques. Forward skating will be introduced at this level, including forward one-foot glides using the left and right foot. 

They’ll continue learning forward swizzles and will now be introduced to backward swizzles. Children will learn the forward-moving snowplow stop and some basic curves. These techniques will prepare them for level 4, where they’ll be dealing with more advanced movements that require a strong understanding of the basics, plenty of confidence, and a passion for skating.

Snowplow Sam 4

Children will move onto Snowplow Sam 4 based on their ability. It may take some children more time to reach this level than others, but that’s fine! Learning to skate is a process, and the important thing is to make sure your kid is having a great time while they learn. 

During this level, children will continue to develop their forward skating technique. They’ll be instructed on the correct way to perform a backward two-foot glide. The instructors will continue working with your child to develop their ability to perform backward swizzles during this stage.

A couple of new techniques will be introduced during this level. Children will learn to do a rocking horse, which involves one forward swizzle and one backward swizzle and is repeated twice. At this level, they will also learn two-foot turns from forward to backward while remaining in place, and to master the two-foot hop in place. 

Set Your Kid Up For Success With Riedell

The world of skating is fast-paced, exciting, and perfect for children with lots of energy to burn. Set your kid up for success when you sign them up for the Snowplow Sam program by ensuring they have the perfect pair of skates. Riedell’s casual skates are a great choice for very young beginning skaters. For children in skate size 12 and up, the Gem series is recommended for a positive group class skating experience.