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Zandstra Long Track.     Photo: Courtesy of Zandstra

Q:

Speed Skates: Zandstra Long Track

I’m no Apolo Ohno, but I have been curious about speed skating ever since I saw people doing it on a local river last winter. I have never seen speed skating equipment in stores. Do the skates cost an arm and a leg?

A:Of the two different kinds of speed skates, short and long track, the latter type make for better outdoor cruisers because they handle bumpy ice. Zandstra’s Long Track model, also called the “Comfort” series in the Dutch company’s catalog, are perfect for outdoor recreational use. The blades have a curved tip for rough ice on lake runs and high-carbon spring steel with a relatively low Rockwell hardness number of 58 (which means the blades aren’t as hard as other models, and thus more forgiving on wild ice). Designers have added comfortable appointments, such as a thick padded liner inside the rigid shell. Overall, a little cushy for competitive athletes, but perfect for cold-weather speed demons. $169; imported to the U.S. by Nordic Skater.

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