The 2018 Winter Olympics have just begun and figure skating is always one of the marquee events. In the U.S., ice skating became a popular leisure activity in the mid-1800s when better designed skates became available and Americans developed an increased interest in outdoor activities. Skaters could be found on frozen bodies of water all over Connecticut, from ponds to rivers and even town reservoirs.
Ice skating was one of the first outdoor activities deemed appropriate for ladies, whose skirts could be shortened slightly to reduce the risk of tripping (though they were encouraged to wear a longer skirt to and from the pond to avoid showing their ankles). Men teaching female friends and relatives to skate were encouraged to do so on the quiet, secluded ponds so no one would see the ladies’ awkwardness and distress while learning the new skill.