Did snow skates work?

As far as I can tell, the answer is no.

The snow skates I’m thinking of have metal blades an inch wide or a bit more. They’re about as long as the skater’s foot and tie on to the shoes. A good example is the one I found in an antique shop. In that post, I wondered whether such skates actually work. So I made a pair and tried them out.

My snow skates.

I cut out the wooden pieces from a maple board using various power tools (table saw, band saw, belt sander, drill press, etc.) and glued them together. I made the runners by cutting sheet metal to shape and heating it in the forge to bend it. Getting the wood and metal to match up was extremely difficult. It’s hard to see here, but the blades have a radius of hollow of about an inch and a half.

Last winter, I took them out several times and tried to skate on snow. It didn’t work at all. When the snow was deep, they sunk through and got stuck. When it was not, they just got stuck. They did not slide at all well. In fact, the skates slid against the soles of my boots better than they slid across the snow. That’s probably why the one from the antique shop has a rubbery layer on the top.

The takeaway is that, in my experience, snow skates don’t work. But then, Sven Kjellberg and others have said that bone skates didn’t work, so maybe there’s more to it.