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Author Topic: Philadelphia Skating Advice  (Read 1505 times)

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Offline nicklaszlo

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Philadelphia Skating Advice
« on: November 22, 2014, 12:00:52 AM »
I'm moving to Philadelphia City Center.  Any recommendations for rinks, coaches, pro shops, etc?

Offline CaraSkates

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Re: Philadelphia Skating Advice
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2014, 07:56:44 AM »
The Class of 1923 rink at Penn has freestyle a couple days a week and is open September-March. There are usually adults and college students on these sessions. Depending on where in Center City, its about a 40min walk or 20min bike ride. There is public transit (Septa) but there will still be some walking involved. I think maybe a trolley stop is the closest?
http://cms.business-services.upenn.edu/icerink/figure-skating/freestyle.html

Septa's regional rail/train system also has trains that run near two other rinks - Philadelphia Skating Club & Humane Society in Ardmore, just hop on a train to Ardmore and then it's about a 10min walk to the rink. Lots of adult skaters here, lots of ice time. You maybe have to join the club to skate some of the sessions? http://pschs.org/

Same thing with Wissahickon Skating in Chestnut Hill - hop on a different train to Chestnut Hill West and then walk about 10 mins. Again, you might have to be a member to skate. http://www.wissskating.com/
PSCHS in Ardmore has a decent pro shop/skate sharpener/skate fitter.

Other rinks I've heard of but haven't skated at - Flyers Skate Zone in North East Philly http://nephilly.flyersskatezone.com/calendars-3/program-calendars/northeast-freestyle
An outdoor rink just opened at  City Hall with public sessions. There is an outdoor "River Rink" at Penns Landing.

Hope that helped!
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Offline Query

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Re: Philadelphia Skating Advice
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2014, 02:18:27 PM »
Don't live there, but have been in the area a few times.

It's a bit far afield, but is the University of Delaware unreasonable? They've several rinks, a lot of good people, and a very well respected pro shop with at least one very good skate technician, who runs the shop.

Incidentally, Ice Works in Aston has many surfaces, and a lot of competitions. I'm sure it must attract some good coaches.

Do I remember right that the Philadelphia Humane society is remarkably expensive? But that they've a very friendly ice dance community...

Philadelphia is an interesting city. Lots of interesting little shops. A lot of thin little roads. Get a GPS and listen to traffic reports. Watch out for horses. Pedestrians have right of way a lot of times that they don't in most other states. Several nice colleges nearby (I went to one) that have interesting activities. If you like plants, Longwood Gardens is interesting. Outdoors - lots of woods, but watch out for deer ticks, because they have a lot of deer. (Actually, that is based on one area. Not sure about the rest of the state.) Several very active social dance groups (e.g., a big Scottish Dance group, an active group around Arden Delaware). Lots of flatwater, sea and whitewater boating groups and activities. (But, unless they have changed, even kayaks and canoes need to be registered.)

Offline nicklaszlo

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Re: Philadelphia Skating Advice
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2014, 02:31:01 PM »
It's a bit far afield, but is the University of Delaware unreasonable?
Yes.

Offline lutefisk

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Re: Philadelphia Skating Advice
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2014, 07:45:44 PM »
I know you've said UDEL is too far but in the interests of being complete I'll mention the skating club of Wilmington: http://skatewilm.com/  which is a tad closer.  Also within Newark, as an alternative to UDEL, there's the Ponds Ice Arena: http://www.thepondicearena.com/  You never know when the allure of ice tourism might strike...  Now if you ever go to Atlantic City, there's the Flyer's Skate Zone : http://ac.flyersskatezone.com/  This is in addition to their rink in NE Philly, and several other locations in nearby NJ.

Offline nicklaszlo

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Re: Philadelphia Skating Advice
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2015, 10:40:08 PM »
It turns out the Philadelphia Skating Club & Humane Society is best for me.  It is friendly and well run.  The schedule is fantastic.  It is expensive and far away though.

Offline fsk8r

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Re: Philadelphia Skating Advice
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2015, 12:23:31 AM »
It turns out the Philadelphia Skating Club & Humane Society is best for me.  It is friendly and well run.  The schedule is fantastic.  It is expensive and far away though.

As you're now there, do you know which rinks are north of the city? I'm visiting Allentown in a couple of weeks and am looking for some ice time and having visited multiple times before I've come to the conclusion that I'm never going to make the work schedule match the skating one, but I've got a weekend in the area so should be able to pick up some ice time.

Offline CaraSkates

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Re: Philadelphia Skating Advice
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2015, 04:58:40 PM »
As you're now there, do you know which rinks are north of the city? I'm visiting Allentown in a couple of weeks and am looking for some ice time and having visited multiple times before I've come to the conclusion that I'm never going to make the work schedule match the skating one, but I've got a weekend in the area so should be able to pick up some ice time.

Allentown is pretty far north of Philly - but there is a nice rink in Bethlehem. Steel Ice Center. Two surfaces, pub restaurant, proshop, etc. I think there are a few others in the area too, that's the only one I've personally been to.
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Offline fsk8r

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Re: Philadelphia Skating Advice
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2015, 12:46:57 AM »
Allentown is pretty far north of Philly - but there is a nice rink in Bethlehem. Steel Ice Center. Two surfaces, pub restaurant, proshop, etc. I think there are a few others in the area too, that's the only one I've personally been to.

Thanks Cara. I think that's my closest rink looking at the map. Do you know how easy it is to skate freestyle there? I'm looking to see if I can squeeze a Saturday morning skate in while I'm there (better than nothing), and I don't want to try to practice on a busy public session (and it's still winter so I'm guessing the general public is still skating).

Offline CaraSkates

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Re: Philadelphia Skating Advice
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2015, 10:57:44 AM »
Thanks Cara. I think that's my closest rink looking at the map. Do you know how easy it is to skate freestyle there? I'm looking to see if I can squeeze a Saturday morning skate in while I'm there (better than nothing), and I don't want to try to practice on a busy public session (and it's still winter so I'm guessing the general public is still skating).

http://www.steelicecenter.com/figure-skating/

I've never actually skated there (been there as a vendor for competitions several times) but the skating director is Angela, she's very nice. Above is a link to their FS schedule - looks like early Saturday morning?
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Offline VAsk8r

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Re: Philadelphia Skating Advice
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2016, 06:57:27 PM »
Hi everyone. I know this is an old thread, and I am an old member who hasn't posted in a looooong time. But I came here to get some advice about Philadelphia and found this.

I am contemplating a move to Philadelphia, and skating is a big factor. I would be working a 9-5 kind of job that is in the general UPenn area. I have a few questions...
1. Are there any rinks within the city itself that are open year round? I know UPenn has a rink, are there any others in this general area?
2. Of the rinks in the area (including Skatequest in Aston, where I've been several times), are freestyle sessions conducive to 9-5 type jobs? I.e., lots of weekend sessions, late evenings, early mornings.
3. People have mentioned the Philly Humane Society and Skating Club is expensive...do you mean the skating itself is expensive or membership?
4. Are there a lot of adult skaters? If I'm deciding between Iceworks and Philadelphia Humane, which do you think is better?

I appreciate any advice. I am very excited about the possible move, but I'm in a fairly good groove where I am, skating-wise, and the notion of having to significantly cut back on skating is terrifying.

Offline amkw

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Re: Philadelphia Skating Advice
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2016, 09:32:20 PM »
I actually just moved to Philly from Columbus Ohio where I had many good skating options. I've been here a little over a month- mostly adjusting to work so have only been able to skate once but I am weighing my options  on how to return soon. I live in the art museum area and work in university city so I'm in a similar situation. Here is what I have observed/experienced so far:

- checked out philly skating club /humane society. I went to an early morning adult session that was a mix of freestyle/pairs/dance. The members were very welcoming and friendly, I was able to walk on because they're not in season right now. Soon they go to membership only. From what I have researched, they have the most available evening ice times for those of us working 9-5 and they are very adult skater friendly. Unfortunately, they are very costly membership wise (at least for my budget). Their initiation fee is somewhere around $900 and then you buy additional membership which seemed to be around 1,000 for a seasonal period. You can find the exact prices on their website.

- the UPenn rink from what I've heard has a lot of athletics programming and offers very limited freestyle hours with most of the ice scheduled during lunch time. I haven't been able to head over there yet because I'm not comfortable leaving my new job for an hour and a half midday to skate yet- it's not good timing. I've heard the overall ice and rink quality is ok.

-Wissahickon skating club is what I'm checking out this weekend (finally) it's about a 20 minute drive (10 miles). They also don't require membership right now until after Labor Day to skate. Their membership is more affordable than the Philly skating club but they do not have as many 9-5 friendly hours from what I can see right now. I'm going to do walk on a few times before then to see how I may like it.

Hopefully that was somewhat helpful from someone else trying to figure it out. It seems like once you find your rink or club and stick to it, it could be easy to get into a routine. It helps to have a car too though philly isn't very car friendly. A 20 minute drive beats an hour train ride and additional walk.

Let me know if you do move and what you find here- or if anyone else who lives in the area has recent perspective I would definitely love to hear your thoughts :)

Offline nicklaszlo

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Re: Philadelphia Skating Advice
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2016, 07:02:03 AM »
Please see Philadelphia reviews in this thread.  http://skatingforums.com/index.php?topic=6967.0

VAsk8r:

1.  Yes, see above
2.  Yes, see above
3.  The skating is expensive.  Membership is pretty much essential.
4.  Yes.

No opinion on Iceworks - I did not get on the ice there.  I expect you will pick PSCHS.

Offline AgnesNitt

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Re: Philadelphia Skating Advice
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2016, 09:19:49 AM »
Hi everyone. I know this is an old thread, and I am an old member who hasn't posted in a looooong time.

Three years! It's nice to see you back.
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Offline VAsk8r

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Re: Philadelphia Skating Advice
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2016, 06:22:54 PM »
Unfortunately, they are very costly membership wise (at least for my budget). Their initiation fee is somewhere around $900 and then you buy additional membership which seemed to be around 1,000 for a seasonal period. You can find the exact prices on their website.
$900?! Egads, what kind of "initiation" is that? (I'm picturing something like the Tank Gang initiation scene in Finding Nemo.) How long is the season that the $1,000 cost covers?

Three years! It's nice to see you back.
Thank you! Great to be back.

Offline AgnesNitt

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Re: Philadelphia Skating Advice
« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2016, 08:43:27 PM »
From the website:

"HOW DOES ONE GET STARTED?

The usual way to begin the Membership Process is to know someone who is a member, that will propose you and obtain two other members who will support your candidacy. Upon receipt of your completed application, and your posting period (2 weeks), you will be contacted by your proposer as to when your meeting with the Member Admissions Committee will take place. Shortly thereafter, your proposer will contact you and inform you of your acceptance."

Thirty years ago this was a traditional way for a country club to keep out people of a religion or color.  I'm a little stunned. 



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Offline jlspink22

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Re: Philadelphia Skating Advice
« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2016, 12:47:46 PM »
Skatezone in NE Philly has weekend ice, as do most of the rinks in South Jersey but that means a 30 min ride and bridge toll....

Offline amkw

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Re: Philadelphia Skating Advice
« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2016, 12:56:57 PM »
$900?! Egads, what kind of "initiation" is that? (I'm picturing something like the Tank Gang initiation scene in Finding Nemo.) How long is the season that the $1,000 cost covers?

Yeah, I have no idea what the initiation even constitutes. I just know that's a lot of money for someone like myself who may not even be able to get there 3x a week.

I found a schedule with their pricing for the upcoming season here: http://pschs.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/2016-2017-fees-schedulefinal-3.pdf

You'll see that they have different packages/skating privileges listed but even the individual limited (two times a week) package has club fees and a winter season skating fee of $1,200 which covers from October to April- if i'm reading their fee breakdown correctly.

Wissahickon's membership builder form is here: http://www.wissskating.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/2016-17-Figure-Skating-Membership-Documents.pdf

Their base is $770 and then you select a package. So slightly more affordable depending upon the package you select? Who even knows  :'(

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Re: Philadelphia Skating Advice
« Reply #18 on: August 19, 2016, 02:03:42 PM »
Let me just make one thing clear - the Philly Humane Society OWNS the rink and the building, whereas most rinks today are owned and operated by a third party who rents the ice or allows paid skating on sessions.  The initiation fee is like a "joining fee" at a YMCA, health club, swim/tennis/golf club.  Skating Club of Boston is a similar organization, whereas Skating Club of NY rents ice for their club ice times.  This gives the figure skating club a lot more say in everything that goes on in the rink: who has coaching privileges, what programs/classes/workshops are to be offered, what skating times and session types will be available, what equipment is needed and when, etc.

Another reason (other than exclusivity/discrimination) that private clubs used to require sponsorship by a member was because the facilities were owned co-operatively -- the initiation fee allowed you to "buy into" the co-op.  The clubs wanted members to be stable bill-payers since the annual membership dues were pretty steep and they needed that income to keep the Club/facility going. 

A lot of NYC private swim clubs still use this model because it brings money in with new members and discourages existing members from letting their memberships lapse before renewing.  I remember having to pay the JCC an initiation fee several times.

IIRC, there used to be a way to "sell out" of your membership and effectively receive some/all of the initiation fee, but in today's age, those fees go towards infrastructure and major repairs.  The annual skating subscription would be earmarked for maintenance, upkeep and activities.

*leaves lecture hall*

From the website:

"HOW DOES ONE GET STARTED?
The usual way to begin the Membership Process is to know someone who is a member, that will propose you and obtain two other members who will support your candidacy. Upon receipt of your completed application, and your posting period (2 weeks), you will be contacted by your proposer as to when your meeting with the Member Admissions Committee will take place. Shortly thereafter, your proposer will contact you and inform you of your acceptance."

Thirty years ago this was a traditional way for a country club to keep out people of a religion or color.  I'm a little stunned. 
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Offline Query

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Re: Philadelphia Skating Advice
« Reply #19 on: August 19, 2016, 02:38:51 PM »
I'm curious why the humane society rink is so expensive. I skated there once, and was shocked at the price.

I understand why community-run rinks are cheaper - they are subsidized by the community. But it was much more expensive than the privately run rinks I was familiar with.

Are most rink businesses run more efficiently than non-profit organizations?

One nice thing about that rink - the people were very friendly.

But since it is club-run, I wonder if you would be expected to volunteer a fair bit of time to help run it. (Or maybe it is cheaper to people who do?)

Offline nicklaszlo

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Re: Philadelphia Skating Advice
« Reply #20 on: August 19, 2016, 05:09:23 PM »
Querry, the #1 reason PHCHS is expensive is that there are almost no hockey rentals.  There is figure skating about 18 hours a day.  Every member is paying for all the ice time.
2. there are quite a few employees.
3. declining membership, hardly any learn to skate to bring in new members
4. old buildings are costly to take care of
5. It's a fantasticly cheap deal if you skate 40 hours/week
6. No marketing is done (I haven't seen a permanent rink with decent marketing yet)
When I was a member, I was hardly asked to volunteer.  They do get some very large donations though.

Offline nicklaszlo

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Re: Philadelphia Skating Advice
« Reply #21 on: August 19, 2016, 05:12:10 PM »
IIRC, there used to be a way to "sell out" of your membership and effectively receive some/all of the initiation fee, but in today's age, those fees go towards infrastructure and major repairs.  The annual skating subscription would be earmarked for maintenance, upkeep and activities.

Yes, PSCHS issued bonds until a few years ago.  I think they were initially construction bonds.

Offline nicklaszlo

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Re: Philadelphia Skating Advice
« Reply #22 on: August 19, 2016, 05:18:10 PM »
Thirty years ago this was a traditional way for a country club to keep out people of a religion or color.  I'm a little stunned.

When I joined, I was told that the club had become "more inclusive."  I took that as a veiled way of saying "we're no longer racist."  Of course it is overwhelmingly a white and asian club.  But that's true of ice skating everywhere I have seen.  The only exception I can think of is Figure Skating in Harlem.

PSCHS needs money, just like any other rink.  I don't think they care much who is paying now.

Offline VAsk8r

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Re: Philadelphia Skating Advice
« Reply #23 on: August 19, 2016, 08:37:48 PM »
It sounds like a great club and a decent deal, if you can take advantage of it. I looked at their website quite a bit last night. The group classes that are included with the cost sound awesome.

2K to skate September-June is actually not THAT much more than I pay now. All things considered, I probably pay around 2K a year now for my ice time, and that's at hockey-dominated rinks with few adults and no group lessons included. It's just the $900 initiation fee on top of it, and then having to figure out what to do during those off months if I want to keep skating. I hope they let people do payment plans or something.

I'll definitely check out the rink if I do end up moving and look into the trial membership I saw mentioned on their site. But I'll try out other rinks, too.

I wish skating wasn't so expensive and more accessible to middle and low-income families, but I haven't heard any good solutions for that. I've always said if I win the lottery, I'll build rinks on my property with inexpensive ice time, take the losses and offer scholarships. Oh, and provide a sanctuary for all the animals that have been in shelters forever.  88)

Speaking of which, where does the "humane society" part come in?

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Re: Philadelphia Skating Advice
« Reply #24 on: August 19, 2016, 10:27:38 PM »
Speaking of which, where does the "humane society" part come in?

Rescuing people, not animals: http://pschs.org/index.php/club-history/