Learning to Improve English, Spoken Or Written, is Like Learning to Ski

With much of our country wrapped in snow, and the kids clamoring to make a snowman, winter sports such as skiing are on my mind. I think back to my high school skiing trips, and learning the basics of how to start and stop while on the beginner slope. And I realized that learning to improve English, spoken or written, is a lot like learning to ski. In the beginning, you just need the basics, a few simple rules to help you survive.

If you don’t live in an English speaking country, the basics may be all you ever need. But, if you move to a country where English is the common language, you will probably want to improve your spoken English and writing skills.

In skiing, if you want to move away from the beginner slope, you may need some instruction to improve your skills. Some people can watch and imitate a more experienced skier, and they learn all they need to navigate the more challenging intermediate slopes. Others, however, need a few hours of coaching from an instructor to master the skills they need to safely make it down the harder slopes.

Learning to improve your English skills is much the same way. Some people can watch and imitate their friends and co-workers and learn what they need at that point. For others, a few hours of personalized instruction with an accent reduction specialist makes all the difference in their language skills and accent.

And then there are those who really want to ski, but just keep falling flat on their face. No matter how hard they try and how much they watch others, they just can’t figure out how to keep the skis under them. It is important to them to learn how to ski, so they hire a personal instructor who will watch them, determine exactly what they are doing wrong, and teach them the skills they need to be a successful skier.

For many non-native English speakers, the story is the same. They have tried watching others, reading books, and watching videos, but their English pronunciation just doesn’t improve. They really want to speak English more clearly, but they can’t figure out what to do. They need a personal instructor, just like the skiers did, to walk alongside them, show them exactly what they’re doing that isn’t working, and teach them the skills for success.

So, where are you in your journey to improve your English, spoken or written? Have you learned all you need from English classes and friends, or are you looking for the instructor who will guide you in achieving your English pronunciation and writing goals?

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Jammu & Kashmir: A Serene Place to Visit in January’s Winter

Tourism in India during the winter is like an amazing expedition. Because, no one can’t say that a short trip in India is not at all entertaining or blissful. After all, when it is a trip to the ‘Swarg’, (Kashmir is also known as ‘Bhuswarga’) (heaven) of India. Every (traveller) ‘Musafir’ is welcomed here because, Indian tradition and culture teaches ‘Vasudhaiva Kudumbkam’.

It means the whole world is one family.

Winter is the best time to visit this incredible India’s Jammu and Kashmir because, one can enjoy the true beauty of this place only if the person plans to visit Jammu in January. Apart from apricots, green apple and the other regional fruits of this place, it is the Thajiwas glacier amongst other tourist attractions that drag tourists over here.

Major ‘key’ factors for tourist attraction

Nectar for sacred belief

Vaishno Devi Temple is one of the major ‘turn-key’ factor for driving the religious tourists from all over India. Earlier, before 1989’s insurgency, tourism contributed a major portion of Kashmir’s economy. But, after that tourism was a worst hit for all.

Whether you are a profane or a sacred believer of God, this place is a hotspot for everyone.

But, before you go you must believe the sacred presence of mother ‘Vaishno Devi’ from the innate core of your soul and then start your journey to the temple.

Climbing the steep steps is not that easy when you are climbing the stairs. Every year thousands of tourists come here to touch the holy feet of Vaishno devi to fulfil their unsatisfied desire.

It is a belief that whoever comes here never goes back without getting their wish fulfilled. “Mata” (Mother) Vashno devi fulfils their every desire.

That’s what drag even foreign devotees to this place to visit Amarnath in January, where the famous Vaishno Devi Temple is located.

Speciality of this attraction

The speciality of it is, you can see people from all community, irrespective to their age is walking and climbing the huge 13.5 km path. While going through this long journey for long more than 3 to 4 hours journey by foot, you might hear devotees yelling ‘Jai Mata Di’. That’s the spirit of those who come here to visit Vaishno Devi for once in their lifetime.

Shikara ride

Did you ever enjoy a boat ride? Well, I am not talking about any ordinary boat ride on Thames or on Hudson Bay.

I am talking about a semi frozen lake with budding lotus flower everywhere and you are taking a peaceful tranquil ride with a cup of coffee on your hand. The smoke evoking from the cup is creating a smoggy atmosphere in the ‘Shikara’ and you can see people slowly riding near you with green apples, fruits and apricots, ripened enough to gulp it inside.

That’s what people usually do whenever they come to Kashmir. It is a common phenomenon on Dal Lake. Most of the shikaras available here are meant for tourist purpose.

How to hire them

All you have to do is, find a boatman and hire it for one night or two nights. That include of course two meals a day as well as the breakfast. The charges won’t be much. It might cost around 2500/- to 3500/- INR. The charges vary when it is a peak tourist season. If you are choosing this place to visit in the month of January, the price varies for sure.

Sonmarg

Known for its exotic beauty and amazing greenery, Sonmarg is a prime location for every international tourists. Whether it is the green apple or the snow-clad mountains that is driving you here, visiting Sonmarg during the winter season is a priceless memory.

Recently an initiative has been taken by the Govt. Of India to promote tourism in this place. An ample of winter sports like skiing and various other entertainment has been organised to promote tourism in Sonmarg.

Low per head cost

Per head cost of any place that you plan to visit in Sonmarg during the month of January is never going to be a burden for your budget. So, stop wrinkling your eyebrows.

Per head Meal: 500/- INR {lunch & dinner excluding breakfast}.

Per head Lodging: 1500/- to 2500/-, for basic accommodation, i.e. one room with attached bathroom.

However, the prices may vary depending upon the accommodation and facility you are taking. The prices might go a bit high if you need any luxury accommodation.

Other attractions

Jammu is famous for other attractions as well. They include Bhau Fort and Baghee Bahu.

Though prior to insurgency now the tourist visit has decreased in Jammu and Kashmir, but still people come here in search of peace.

If you are coming here with your kids or your dating partner don’t forget to visit Gulmarg. There are ample of winter sports available in this place to attract the tourists.

If you are thinking for skiing, do drop in.

Nothing can be more romantic than Gulmarg if you are planning to visit in the month of January.

We all lead a life where everyone rushes for materialistic expansion. Nobody has got time to sit and think for a while how melodious and mystique nature is in Jammu and Kashmir. Here, a rambling ‘musafir’ (traveller) can spend the whole life, basking in this enthralling beauty of Kashmir.

Myth says that when Rama verged war against Ravana he got stuck to see the beauty of ‘Pampa’ river. A lone wanderer is definitely going to get his or her knees completely numb the moment the person witnesses flamboyant Lidar River passing through the Kashmir valley.

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The Most Unusual Phobias

Phobias are the fear of something. Usually the fear is quite common – most of us know someone who is afraid of heights or spiders or public speaking. But it’s possible to be afraid of lots of other things. Here are some of the most unusual phobias I’ve come across:

Chionophobia

This is the fear of snow. Which if you’re a winter sports fan sounds pretty unusual but it often centers around a fear of snow flakes, making it an awkward phobia to have in certain climates.

Sesquipedalophobia

A not very appropriate name for the fear of long words. This isn’t a phobia I suffer from but its name is certainly offputting. Some people are afraid of long words because they are afraid they will mess up their pronunciation or otherwise make themself appear stupid.

Fear of gravity reversing itself

I haven’t been able to find an official name for this (although Barophobia covers the fear of gravity itself) but the thought of one of the laws of nature turning itself literally upside down isn’t one I’d personally like to dwell on.

Asymmetriphobia

This one is the fear of asymmetrical things. At first it doesn’t appear too worrying until you remember that lots of things in the world are asymmetrical – whether it’s an odd number of leaves on a plant or slight differences between the left and right side of our bodies.

Somniphobia

The fear of sleep is fortunately quite rare as we all need sleep (some more or less than others). It’s a fear that we normally grow out of – children are more prone to this phobia, especially if they’ve suffered from nightmares recently.

Gephyrophobia

Another awkward worry to have: the fear of crossing bridges. If you’re unfortunate enough to suffer from this then your journeys could get a lot longer. Modern architecture helps prevent disasters like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge that collapsed spectacularly in 1940, just a few months after it was first opened to the public.

Melanophobia

Or the fear of black – so not a phobia that’s popular amongst Goths. Black is regularly found in the world so this phobia is one that you’d want to get cured or at least reduced if at all possible.

Paraskavedekatriaphobia

Whilst a lot of us suffer from this fear it’s usually only as a result of superstition – this is the fear of Friday the 13th. A few poor people do suffer from this rather more strongly and, as such, are badly affected between one and three times every year.

Fear of cracks in the pavement

Another one I couldn’t find an official name for. This is the phobia of stepping on cracks in the pavement and is normally coupled with the worry that the cracks will open up and maybe swallow you up or – in one of the more extreme examples I found – suck you into another dimension entirely.

Caligynephobia

This one is a fear of beautiful women – hard as that may be for most men to believe. It’s thought to be related to the rather more common social phobia where people are afraid of social situations.

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Auvergne Festivals – 12 Wonderful Festivals In Auvergne

Auvergne is famous for its Romanesque churches and architecture as well as its delectable cuisines, cheeses, fine tasting and sparkling wines. Apart from its interesting historical remains, Auvergne is also popular for its winter sports resorts and mountain spas that have attracted a great volume of tourists from all over the globe.

There are lots of magnificent festivals that suit every fine taste held across the region of Auvergne which are surged by lots of tourists. From short film festivals to art, history and music festivals, Auvergne has definitely lots to offer all year round. Make your holiday in France a worthwhile and remarkable experience by bringing your presence to the colourful and stunning festivals in Auvergne.

1. Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, 1st to 9th February 2013

This festival is highly regarded in the world of short films., and 2013 is the 35th year it is running. It incorporates a marketplace where collectors can pick up rarities and find short films that straddle all the genre types.

This famous festival attracts over 100,000 visitors every year. It is a perfect venue to watch short films but also enjoy delving into the shorts of previous years, on one of the thirty five video terminals.

It is a big networking scene for those involved in the industry, and it is packed full of stalls, events and a large exhibition.

2. Limoges Carnival, Esplanade Champ-du-Juillet, 3rd March 2013

Carnivals are wonderful and this one in particular has quite a reputation and attracts International performers, so you may see Brazilian dancers and musicians and other fun and talented International acts. The Limoges Carnival has been running since 1989 on the first Sunday of March.

It is organised along a route of 3 kilometres, and the procession is expected to attract around 75,000 people. It culminates in the drowning of the Carnival King.

Around 1200 people are involved in providing the entertainment, with on average 10 top bands who are invited from other areas of France as well as other parts of Europe.

3. Videoformes, Clermont-Ferrand, 20th to 23rd March 2013

Celebrate video, International art video and many cultural and digital feasts at the Videoformes Festival in Clermont Ferrand. This has been running in springtime every year since 1986. You can join debates, conferences and discuss projects and ideas. There are also compeitions running for children. For those involved, it is a meeting of minds and brainstorming platform.

The festivals runs as above, however the exhibition runs from 21st March until 7th April.

4. Festival Des Buveurs D’Eau, Vic Sur Cere, 20th to 21st April 2013

This is a water festival which aims to educate people on an eco-lifestyle on one hand, but whilst having lots of fun on the other hand. It dates back to 1896 although it wasn’t active for a long time until 2011 when it was revived.

Families can enjoy water fun, picnics, artisans work, family workshops and animations.

5. Festival International Cinema et Costume Moulins – International Cinema and Costume Festival, June 2013, awaiting dates

A wonderful celebration of the importance of costume in film, covering both period and contemporary films. Costume is so central to film as we assess the characters on screen quickly and costume is an essential medium to communicate messages to us, the viewers.

Held in Allier, Moulins, this stunning festival takes place in June each year and screens around 20 films which were carefully picked for the beauty and exquisiteness of the costumes.

6. Les Europennes du Goucirct, Aurillac, early July (6, 7 & 8th in 2012)

This is perhaps one of the most popular and well attended festivals in this region of France. It is a 3-day cultural and gastronomic festival which is celebrated through a combination of live music, tasting, workshops, round table discussions, demonstrations and entertainment. This festival, which takes in Aurillac (Cantal) in July every year, features around 100 exhibitors.

In 2012 it especially celebrated beef, and in 2011 pork. There are short courses during the festival and bountiful local produces such as cheese, wines, spices, baked goods, as well as local products of other European participants.

7. Festival Country Rendez-Vous, Craponne-sur-Arzon, 26th to 28th July 2013

If you love country music, then this is the place for you this July. It features some top performers from Nashville and Austin United States, and for country music fans, you can enjoy a great diversity of music and performers, which will be played in a natural amphitheatre. Watch out for new talent as well!

8. Festival Musique Sur un Plateau, Brivadois, late July (22nd to 29th July 2012)

This is the festival for art history and music lovers. Every July, the Brivadois region, which is next to la Brioude is highlighted by a series of outstanding classical performances and concerts.

The festival promotes the history of the area, classical music and art, and the connection between them.

9. Festival du Monastier, La Vicairie, early August (3rd to 11th August 2012)

2013 is the 25th edition of this brass music festival. Enjoy an eclectic mix of music that surprisingly enough uses brass instruments! From jazz to baroque, from world music to traditional French songs.

10. Fecirctes Renaissance – Roi de l’Oiseau, 3rd weekend September (12th to 16th September 2012)

This is a colourful Renaissance festival which is held at Le Puy-en-Velay (Haute-Loire) every September, on the third weekend. The event is highlighted by the impressive re-enactment of the archery competition which took place sometime in the 16th century.

Running since 1986, this is cultural event marrying fun, beauty and expression. Join the crowd as the town celebrates the festival through demonstrations, shows and concerts for five days.

11. Francophonies in Limousin, 11 Avenue du Geacuteneral-de-Gaulle, 25th Sept.-5th Oct. 2013

Check out the creme-de-la-creme of International French theatre. The term Francophonie encompasses worldwide French speaking cultures.

Running since 1984, this festival marks its 30th birthday in 2013. The 2012 festival had an attendance of over 15,500, with a wealth of performances, debates, meetings and exhibitions.

12. Fecircte de la Chataigne (Chestnut Festival), Mourjou, October

Mourjou (Cantal) is a village with a huge population of 360 at last count, but every year in October it lets 20,000 or so visitors enjoy the Chestnut Festival. Participate in eating and drinking copious amounts of chestnuts and cider. In fact the norm is that there is 5000 litres of cider and 2 tons of chestnuts.

This fair began in 1990 when some of the younger inhabitants decided that it was time to revive the chestnut, which had experienced quite a decline since the modernisation of agriculture.

Enjoy lots of fun, other local delicacies, story telling, street music, technical demonstrations, games for the children, wine tasting and lots more.

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Why Is Snowboarding So Addictive?

The sport of snowboarding has seen massive growth over the past few decades. Twenty years ago there were few snowboards on the slopes. It was seen as a rebel fringe sport.

Snowboarders were seen by skiers as little more than an annoyance who routinely got in their way on the mountain. Now, there are just as many snowboarders if not more on the mountain as there are skiers. Why has snowboarding become so popular? Why is snowboarding so addictive?

Speed, speed and more speed. If speed is what you want then skiing is for you. In a downhill race skis will beat snowboards every time, but is speed simple how fast you can get to the bottom or is it something more. Snowboards are plenty fast and the feel that a snowboarder gets through their board and body often leads to the perception that they are going faster than they actually are. Snowboarding is more exciting because of the level of control that a boarder feels over their board. Speed plus fine control leads to a more exciting run than simply speed.

The versatility of a board is another factor in its growing popularity. A board can go anywhere as long as it’s downhill.

Its broader base means that boarding through powder that would bog most skiers down is no problem. It is also easier to carve and cut with a board than it is with skis, meaning that moving through an obstacle strewn path is easier on a board. Boarders can venture where skiers do not dare to go.

The tricks are what suck most snowboarders in. There are a lot more ways to look cool on a mountain with a snowboard than with a pair of skis. Never underestimate the appeal of looking cool. Every snowboard can be used in a bowl or half pipe, where specialty skis are often required to pull off the more impressive tricks.

The final addictive factor of snowboarding is one that is shared with skiing. The silence. That crisp silence that is only found when you are barreling down a mountain. That feeling of speed and isolation that is accompanied only by the hiss of your board on snow.

It’s an amazing feeling that is hard to duplicate. It is certainly addictive. Why else would people constantly drag their bruised and sore bodies up a mountain time after time? They love the rush. They are addicted.

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The Perfect Snowboard Setup

This article will help you with your snowboard setup in a few easy to follow steps. What I love most about snowboarding is the simplicity. One person, one snowboard and one fresh line is all you need to have the time of your life. Simple alterations to your equipment and stance can really affect how your board will perform and ultimately how awesome the ride can be. Here are a few quick tips for the perfect snowboard setup, so that next time you’re on the mountain you can strap in and shred without any restrictions.

Boots

The first point of contact between you and your board. Soft boots are good for freestyle riders, as they are more forgiving at slow speeds. Stiff boots are better for free riding and carving as they give more support at high speeds and a more solid connection between you and your board. If you have a stiffer boot, but you want to experience how a soft boot feels, try loosening your boots up and making a few turns.

Next, getting the fit right is essential. Your toes should touch the end of your boot and when you apply pressure to the tongues through your shins, your toes should slide back slightly, but still have light contact with the inside. There should be NO heel lift when pressing your shins against the tongues. Remember that your boots will ‘pack out’ or expand inside as they wear in, so it’s better to start with something a little tight as they will loosen over time.

Bindings

The next point of contact to the board. The first consideration here is the position of the bindings on the board. For normal and freestyle riding, you want a more centred stance, i.e. the nose and tail are the same length. This will enable you to ride regular and switch with ease and is the most versatile. When riding powder, most people prefer a set-back stance. By moving both bindings back by 1 inch or so, you are effectively lengthening your nose and shortening your tail. This will move the centre of mass towards the back of the board, raising your nose and helping the board to stay above the surface in deeper snow.

Stance Width

The distance between the centre of both bindings. Quite simply, the wider your stance, the more stable you will be, but the narrower your stance, the easier it will be to initiate a turn. Super steely park kids may give the impression that the wider the stance the cooler you look, but this is not the case. If you are at an intermediate level or above, you really wont need so much extra stability and it may slow your turn initiation. I am 5’8″ and I usually ride a 155cm board with a centred stance. I find the most successful stance width to be around 21.5″. Take a screwdriver with you up the mountain, or use the courtesy tools provided at lift stations in most resorts. Start with a stance that feels comfortable and wide and then every couple of runs, reduce it by 1/2 an inch or so. I guarantee that you will notice how much easier it is to start a turn with a narrower stance. Play around with it for a couple of hours until you find the sweet spot that suits you.

Binding Angle

Important to get right so you don’t put unnecessary strain on your calves and knees. Usually you will find that people with a centred stance will ride 15/-15, 12/-12 or 9/-9. Having your binding angles as a mirror of each other will help switch riding and will allow you to be more versatile. Although some people who don’t ride switch as often and just want to charge powder with a set back stance will be more comfortable with a slight angle on the front and less on the back, e.g. 15/-9. Finally, you need to consider the angle of your high-backs. Almost all bindings will have some way of adjusting the high-back angle. Freestyle riders prefer less to no angle, which will be more forgiving when sliding boxes and rails. Increasing the angle so that the high-back is pointing more into the back of your leg will give you more support when initiating a heel side turn. This can make a huge difference if you have never tried it.

It is important to make any changes to these settings one at a time. Decide on a centred or set back stance, then alter the width, then your angles. It will be well worth it and you won’t have to worry about finding the perfect settings for your board again. Now with the perfect snowboard setup you will be able to concentrate on improving your riding, safe in the knowledge that your setup isn’t holding you back! If you’re interested in reading more useful articles about winter sports or you want to book your next ski/snowboard trip, visit our website here.

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Winter Running Tips For Beginners

Winter has arrived. The leaves are falling and it is freezing cold to be out. People wear blue jeans, jackets and long sleeve tees. For most runners, this is a great time. However, new runners might find it frustrating to run in the cold. The number one question in their mind is “can I run in the cold as a new runner and deal with the elements?”

Worry no more, because we are here to help. Here are some winter running tips for beginners:

Do not worry about breaking records

First of all, you need not to worry about increasing mileage or pace during winter times because the cold and icy condition make it more prone for you to slip and injuring yourself. We would like to also advise you to do your warm up indoors. Try to avoid icy roads and go for the snow, which provide better traction and grib. Shorten your stride and run slower for the sake of keeping safe during very ice and wet days ahead.

Clothing

Not surprisingly, you must wear proper winter clothing if you want to run during the winter. Wear thick dry socks and use slightly larger running shoes to accommodate the space needed for these socks. It is essential to keep your feet warm during winter runs to prevent frostbite and vessel problems. Also wear a warm hat during your runs. A great amount of body heat vapors through the head during cold condition and this will affect the circulation in your body. Your hands must be covered in wool gloves and you must also wear thick running suits. For shorts, you can wear those made of polypropylene or Lycra and combine it with wool running trousers.

Avoid Wind-chill

You must be careful and avoid running into a wind-chill. This extreme cold can be bad and dangerous. Experienced runners like to run into the wind to start their run and then return to the starting line with the wind blowing at their backs. This will make your return run easier as your body has become warmer.

Skin and hydration

Use moisturizer and sun block to prevent blistering in your face. Despite of the fact that you are running in the cold, you still need to maintain sufficient hydration just like when you are running during the summer. Hydration is important to help your muscles recover after a run in the cold and icy condition. You can also try drinking energy drinks with high carbohydrate to maintain your immune system during winter runs. Fresh vegetables and vitamin C can also help your immune system during your runs in cold condition.

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Broaden Your Horizons With Today’s TV Choice

Gone are the days when there were only one or two channels to choose from, these days the choice is astounding and viewers can find everything from real life drama to fantastical tales at a touch of a button. When TV first started making its way into people’s homes, choice was limited and couldn’t always cater to individual taste. Now that the technology behind TV broadcasting has advanced massively, it’s a whole different ball game.

In fact, now people who may have never had the chance to watch their favourite sports, can now enjoy them in HD from the comfort of their own home. Sporting events from all around the world are now televised, meaning people can do everything from supporting their local football teams to finding out about winter sports in remote locations or water games in sunnier climes.

There are also plenty of TV series and soap operas to choose from, ranging from tense medical dramas such as House to entertaining sitcoms like Scrubs. Those who aren’t fans of blood and guts might prefer to follow soaps such as Hollyoaks or Coronation Street for a UK flavour or Neighbours for an Australian setting. Joining these scripted shows are a whole plethora of reality TV offerings that allow people to find out how their contemporaries live and gain an insight into people they might never otherwise meet, but if you aren’t a people person, there are plenty of animal shows featuring exotic creatures to enjoy.

Once upon a time you might have had to wait a long time to see a movie. These days, there are entire channels devoted to films. This means that everything from classic musicals such as the Sound of Music or Singing in the Rain to brand new summer blockbusters such as the Spiderman or Transformers films can be found on the TV. What’s more, special seasons celebrating world cinema means that plenty of people get the chance to find out what films people in other countries love.

With so many different options out there, deciding what to watch can sometimes seem like a bit of a task – especially if there’s more than one person making the decision. Luckily, the number of programmes to choose from also means that you’re sure to be able to find something to satisfy everyone.

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Ice Skating – For Pleasure and Sport

The world of Ice Skating saw seven-year-old Sophie Kemp glide her way to stardom at the Planet Ice Skating Stars competition in the UK recently, one of the youngest participants to do so. Despite the fact that Sophie had only begun skating since April this year, her dogged determination saw her complete a three-jump and a spiral, two of the most difficult ice skating techniques, on her way to the top of the group that was open to ages 6-16. Her mother, Kate Kemp is proud of her daughter’s achievement, having been a former club skater herself, and overjoyed that Sophie is making lots of lovely new friends.

Ice skating and figure skating took the world by storm in the 1970s, 80s and 90s when many skaters, men and women, displayed intricate movements and graceful techniques of skating on ice. One name that shot to skating brilliance during that time is Tara Lipinski, who became the youngest ladies’ figure skater and the youngest athlete in any sporting discipline to win a gold medal. With titles of US National Champion and World Champion much before she turned 15, Lipinski won the Winter Olympic gold medal at Nagano, Japan in 1998. Unfortunately, her skating years didn’t last long as she quit the professional circuit in 2002 citing health reasons. However, her career as a figure skating analyst with NBC Sports took off and after nearly two decades away from the limelight, she plans to produce a skating show and hopes to bring figure skating to its former esteem.

As skating rinks around the world prepare to dive into the oncoming winter months, one of the most famous ice skating rinks in the world, the one at the iconic Rockefeller Centre in New York will celebrate its 80th anniversary this season. Opening for the winter season is scheduled in early October and already reservations for skating packages are underway. Skating enthusiasts are looking forward to making special memories of the season at the rink located at Fifth Avenue.

Skating is a popular sport that involves using skates to move on any surface including naturally occurring frozen water bodies such as lakes, ponds or rivers or artificially frozen tracks like parks, rinks and tracks which are mostly indoors.

According to a study by the Oxford University, Finland was where the earliest ice skating activity happened nearly 3000 years ago when flattened and sharpened bones were strapped to leather boots for people to glide on ice. The first ice skates were invented in the 13th century by the Dutch people. In the Nordic region, ice skating is a necessary skill besides a common sport for all classes of people.

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Want To Buy A Used Kayak? Follow These Tips For Success

You’ve decided it’s time to buy a kayak, and the thought crossed your mind to buy a used kayak. Here are a few simple tips to follow if you want to buy a used kayak.

Every day people decide to get rid of perfectly good used kayaks for a variety of reasons. It could be divorce, relocation, upgrading to a better model, changing to a different sport, or it just doesn’t get used anymore – no matter what the reason for the sale, you can really get a great value for your money when you buy a used kayak.

Follow these tips to get your next deal on a used kayak:

1. Pay attention to how the kayak has been stored.

Proper storage can extend the life of a kayak. The best possible option is that the kayak has been stored inside a garage and kept out of the elements. If a kayak has been stored outside for an extended period of time, it requires further examination.

Check the seat for wear; sometimes the fabric on the seat can look fine until you touch it and it reveals that it is dry rotted.

Check the seals on the bulk heads. They can crack and dry up over time and exposure, and the bulk heads may no longer be water tight.

Make sure the boat doesn’t have any dips and bends in the hull from being stored without the weight being evenly distributed. While the roto-molded plastic does have a memory and can return to its original position, this may take some time and render the kayak difficult to use until it happens.

2. Look for signs of repair.

The most obvious repairs will be to the hull of the boat. Turn it over and look for any signs of patching or other repair work. A boat is only as good as its weakest repair, so if you see signs of repairs, you need to test the boat and make sure it is still water tight. If you find that the hull of the boat has been breached, it may still be worthy of a repair, but you want to take that into consideration when you make your purchase.

3. Sit in the boat. I don’t care how silly you feel, get in it. You will thank me later.

You need to make sure the seat is comfortable and adjustable. As you are sitting in the seat, picture yourself in that seat for 4 hours. Will it still be comfortable? Can it be adjusted to make it more comfortable? You want a seat you can spend all day in comfortably.

Now, see how your lower body fits in the boat. Does it feel tight and claustrophobic? Can you adjust the foot pedals so that they are in the right spot to provide the support you need? Again, make sure the fit is good enough to be comfortable all day. Trust me, you won’t use a kayak that is uncomfortable and causes you pain.

4. Pick it up. Yep. Pick it up.

Can you pick it up and load it by yourself? Try it and see if it is something you can manage on your own. If you don’t think you will ever be in a situation where you need to load it by yourself, then maybe this isn’t that big of a deal for you. However, it is good to know whether or not you could handle it alone before you make your purchase.

5. Educate yourself to get the best deal.

Research the make and model of the kayak you are going to look at before you go. It is important to know the length of the kayak too. Find out how much the kayak costs new. Also search the internet for used kayaks of that same make, model and length kayak for sale. See what the range of prices are for the used kayaks. Search the internet for reviews of that kayak. See what others who have owned that kayak say about its performance and durability. If you find that most of the reviews online indicate that people weren’t happy with that particular kayak, then this may be a clue as to why this kayak is for sale.

You can literally save hundreds, and possibly even a thousand dollars by buying a used kayak. In addition to buying used from individuals, you can also buy demo boats from kayak dealers. Demo boats have been gently used and possibly rented for short periods of time. Again, this gentle usage knocks several hundred dollars off the cost.

Another way to get a great deal on a used kayak is to buy a kayak from a rental or excursion company. They will sell their kayaks after a set amount of usage and they replace them with new kayaks. Most of the time, these kayaks have been well maintained and are a good investment.

If you just have to have a new kayak and be the first one to put any dings in it, then I have one other tip to help you get a great deal. Many dealers that sell kayaks in the summer, also sell skis and winter sports gear during the winter. Before they change over their store from one season to the next, you should be able to get a great deal on the model year that has just closed out. It is easier for them to sell it at a reduced price than to store it over the winter, and next year have a new kayak that is a year old to try and sell alongside the new models.

Buying a used kayak can be a fantastic way to get a great value for your money. Many used kayaks are barely used and you could buy it and save hundreds of dollars.

Whether you buy new or used, do your research and try to get the most you can for your money. You will love your new kayak! The water awaits!

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