Big Wheel Blading’s COVID-19 Coverage

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every skater in the world in some way. In this new series, Inline Skating and Life During COVID-19, we will be checking in with various inline skaters from around the globe to see how the pandemic has affected their life. This is only one part of our COVID-19 coverage, which includes editorials, interviews with skaters who are deemed essential workers and an in depth report of what long term affects the pandemic will have on our sport and industry. Also check out the series, Essential Workers, Inline Skaters on the Front Lines of COVID-19, where we talk to inline skaters from around the world who are considered Essential Workers. If you’d like to contribute an editorial piece or have any comments or suggestions you can email janericwelch@bigwheelblading.com.


Kris Fondran is a 52-year-old inline skater living in Euclid, Ohio. She is the director of the Inline Certification Program (ICP), Part-time lecturer at Cleveland State University (CSU), Skating instructor, Yoga Instructor and a Rollerblade Team Member.


What is the current situation with COVID-19 in Ohio?  

We are under a stay-at-home order until May 29th. We can only go out to stores for necessities. We are allowed to go out for walks, exercise in parks, etc. Maintaining social distancing measures. Masks suggested, not mandated.

Are you still skating?

Not currently skating because the weather has not been consistently conducive. Plus, I am a pretty compliant person, when I believe in a cause, so I am primarily staying close to home as “ordered.”

However,  for the last 6+ weeks I have been teaching quite a bit off skate sessions to various skating students like the members of Skater’s Quest skate team which is owned by Skate of the Union Race Director Krista Heubusch-Schreffler, creating a short “Yoga for Skaters” video for my good friend and fellow skating instructor Ajay Shivlani from Mumbai, India and his skate school The Skate Academy, and teaching virtually through my ice hockey program Skating First Hockey.

Where are you going out to skate?

Once the weather warms up consistently in Cleveland I will skate in my neighborhood or drive to a local park and will hopefully start up skating lessons with students when given the go ahead by local officials.

When were the last time you skated and when and why did you decide to stop completely? 

The last time I skated was March 15 at the end of the Inline Certification Program (ICP) Level 2 Certification conducted in Mexico City, Mexico. Upon returning to the states on March 16th the state of the Ohio began the “Stay at Home Order” and Mexico followed suit. We managed to pull that program off just in time! 

Are you doing any cross training? 

Yes. Daily yoga, Plyometrics with Skater’s Quest, body weight, Barre 3 online with my local studio.

What other activities are you doing to occupy your time? 

Conducting multiple virtual calls with skating instructors around the world, creating and conducting a pilot program for a Full Level 1 Skating Instructor Certification Online through the ICP’s online learning platform, finishing up the semester via online and virtually with university students, teaching various yoga and off skate weekly classes via Zoom, daily personal yoga practice, spending quality time with my family at home, and  reading.  Basically, not binging on Netflix!

How has COVID-19 affected your normal everyday life? 

As I have told many friends, I think I was made for quarantine. Actually, I am thriving during quarantine. 

My regular life has me teaching skating (mostly on the ice during the winter months) at multiple rinks, teaching various university classes at the CSU, and traveling world wide for the ICP certifications, all of which I love. However, there is so much I have wanted to create for skating education and because of my “day job” running from rink to rink or from class to class all week my efforts have gone in fits and starts.  

What starts with a spark of inspiration and is fueled by my passion and vocation for teaching people to skate,  often gets put on the back burner. Having taught skating in many forms for over 30 years, I know first hand that there is no substitute for in person hands on instruction. But COVID-19 has “slowed everyone’s roll” so to speak and forced us to be creative in motivating ourselves and others to keep skating. If there ever was the perfect time to launch or promote online education for skating, that time is definitely NOW!

How is this virus going to affect skating in all forms world-wide for the next few years?  

Personally, I had a lot of plans for travel to events, meetings and certifications scheduled for 2020 and I am certainly not alone. My heart goes out to all the skaters, athletes and event organizers who’s events have already been canceled and for those still in limbo wondering what lies ahead for their careers and livelihood.  

How is your local skate community responding? Are they self-isolating or are they still getting together and not social distancing? 

People in the Cleveland area have been pretty compliant with the “stay at home order” Unfortunately, however, there isn’t much of a skating scene in Cleveland for people to miss. That said, some street skaters like Brandon Thompson, from Blade CLE and one of the organizers of the King of Cleveland Street Skating Competition, who also happens be a yoga student of mine at CSU, is still getting out to the parks to skate with friends every few days and I know that a bunch of guys recently had organized a multi-state “social distancing” skate battle via Instagram!

Over the last 6 weeks numerous friends have dropped by to borrow skates, safely picking them up off of my front porch for themselves and their children.  Cleveland is a big ice skating town so many of them are hockey and figure skaters that are now realizing, what I had already been telling them for years, that inline skating is an awesome cross training option.  It is the perfect complement to the ice and allows for social distancing rules to be followed while keeping the skating muscles working and the whole body in shape.

Thanks Jan for all you do to promote all things skating though Big Wheel Blading!  Keeping  skaters around the world connected and inspired through a common love for skating. Is what the world needs now! — 
Wishing you wisdom, peace, and love.


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