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Author Topic: Philadelphia Ice Rink Reviews - figure skating perspective  (Read 1235 times)

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Offline nicklaszlo

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Philadelphia Ice Rink Reviews - figure skating perspective
« on: January 05, 2016, 01:04:45 AM »
Philadelphia Skating Club and Humane Society
Ice: 4.9/5
Location: 4/5
Value: 3/5
Schedule: 5/5
Suitability for Training: 5/5
Suitability for Tourists: 2/5
Adult skater/ice dance paradise.  No hockey or boards, does have mirrors.  Social ice dance on Saturday afternoons is free to attend.  Check out the fresco and the display of historic skates.  Roof leaks.  At some times of year the ice is open only to members and guests (except the social dance and public skate).  Joining is easy but costly.

Wissahickon
Ice: 5/5
Location: 4/5
Value: 3/5
Schedule: 3/5
Suitability for Training: 4/5
Suitability for Tourists: 3/5
Best ice in the area. 

Laura Simms
Ice: 1/5
Location: 2/5
Value: 5/5
Schedule: 2/5
Suitability for Training: 1/5
Suitability for Tourists: 2/5
Public skate only.  Free admission.  Annoying, loud, inappropriate radio playing.

Riverrink
Ice: 3/5
Location: 5/5
Value: 5/5
Schedule: 4/5
Suitability for Training: 0/5
Suitability for Tourists: 5/5
Best tourist experience in Philadelphia.  This outdoor rink has a good view of Camden, unless there is a barge in the way.  Ice is surprisingly good for outdoors (it was raining when I checked).  Ice melts on warm days.  Buy tickets online in advance.  Free admission to Independence (PA) Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance card holders.  In the summer it is a roller rink with an obstructed surface.  I liked the roller experience better.  Music is tasteful.

Flyers Skate Zone NE Philadelphia
Ice: 4/5
Location: 2/5
Value: 3/5
Suitability for Training: 3/5
Suitability for Tourists: 3/5
Two ice surfaces.  Facility was under renovation when I went.  It has a reputation for being cold.  It was quite cold when I went in mid-summer.  It is pretty far from the areas of Philadelphia I usually visited.

Dilworth Park Rothman
Ice: 0/5
Location: 4/5
Value: 0/5
Suitability for Training: 0/5
Suitability for Tourists: 2/5
Don’t bother.  Outdoors.  The only positive thing I can say about it is that they advertise sleds for participants with disabilities.  Ice was so bad I didn’t try it.  Riverrink has better scenery.

University of Pennsylvania 1923 Arena
Ice: 4/5
Location: 4/5
Value: 4/5
Schedule: 0/5
Suitability for Training: 2/5
Suitability for Tourists: 4/5
This huge facility is hardly ever open.  I expect U Penn will decide to demolish it and build a high rise in its place.  Staff didn’t seem to understand what program music is.

Offline alejeather

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Re: Philadelphia Ice Rink Reviews - figure skating perspective
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2016, 08:17:23 PM »
So sad about the 1923 rink. My sister is a grad student there and I got her skates for her birthday. She'd love to start skating more, but she doesn't have a car and can't get to the other rinks. She'd be at the university rink in a heartbeat.
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Offline nicklaszlo

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Re: Philadelphia Ice Rink Reviews - figure skating perspective
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2016, 06:26:45 AM »
alejeather, I did not use a car to go to any of those rinks. 

Offline CaraSkates

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Re: Philadelphia Ice Rink Reviews - figure skating perspective
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2016, 06:30:41 AM »
So sad about the 1923 rink. My sister is a grad student there and I got her skates for her birthday. She'd love to start skating more, but she doesn't have a car and can't get to the other rinks. She'd be at the university rink in a heartbeat.

I skated at the 1923 rink during college and didn't have a car. I walked, rode my bike or took Septa.
I've also skated at PSCHS (train, then walk), Wissahickon (train, then walk) and the River Rink (again, Septa.)
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Offline lutefisk

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Re: Philadelphia Ice Rink Reviews - figure skating perspective
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2016, 09:21:11 AM »
Has anyone skated at the Skatium in Havertown?

Offline CaraSkates

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Re: Philadelphia Ice Rink Reviews - figure skating perspective
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2016, 11:30:53 AM »
Has anyone skated at the Skatium in Havertown?

Yes, once. It was used for practice ice at one of PSCHS's Challenge Cup competitions. Nice facility, very hockey geared but the staff was nice and the session I skated was empty.
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Offline theoreticalgirl

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Re: Philadelphia Ice Rink Reviews - figure skating perspective
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2016, 02:36:47 PM »
Just wanted to chime in about Sims... it's part of the Parks & Recreation skating facilities, of which there are 5 in the city (Sims, Simons, Scanlon, Tarken, and Rizzo). Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation donated millions of dollars several years ago to rehab the facilities. As a result, they are *very* geared towards supporting youth hockey programming, which is great for hockey, but you know, not great for the rest of us.

With that said, the public skating sessions on Monday and Wednesday nights are dead save for the 3-4 skaters (myself included) that use it as a freestyle session. I can't complain about free ice, and I really love the community of skaters there—which cuts across many socioeconomic backgrounds in ways that one does not typically encounter in figure skating. If WSC had more freestyle available in the evening, I'd go there, so Sims winds up being the only choice available. Also, Sims is basically in my neighborhood and requires only a short bus ride.

As for the UPenn rink, they too cater heavily to hockey. Figure skating isn't profitable for them, but then again, when you are a part of a large institution like Penn, it hardly matters whether you make money or not. (Full dislclosure: I was a Penn employee for 10+ years.)

Offline theoreticalgirl

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Re: Philadelphia Skating Advice
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2016, 03:09:24 PM »
Hey folks, I wanted to chime in about the area rinks. I've lived in Philadelphia for 20 years and have spent some time in these places.

The UPenn rink is the only one that's truly accessible to the downtown area, but lacks a robust figure skating schedule. There's freestyle once a week, and public skating once per day. Both public and freestyle sessions are an hour long, and at weird hours that most folks with dayjobs can't take advantage of. If you can, avoid the weekend public sessions, especially once LTS starts, since the rink is swarming with children. It's not worth the hassle. I only skate there as a last resort.

Some have already mentioned PSCHS. Want to share my perspective: I have held off on joining for a while because of the cost and all that comes with being a member of a private club. But when I sat down and thought about my long-term goals, joining made sense. I ran the numbers, I realized I wouldn't be spending much for what is essentially drop-in freestyle most days of the week, at hours that are conducive to my work schedule, and I wouldn't have to play the weekly game of "where am I skating this week?" While I'm sure it was harder to join in generations past, it was really easy for me to sign up with PSCHS. Since the rink is open to non-members in the spring, summer, and early fall, I had the opportunity to skate there and meet other folks. I did think about joining WSC, but they cut back their adult hours this season, and I've never really felt comfortable there as I have other rinks, so I opted for PSCHS. (Also, they offer patch, which is like, super-important for me.)

Otherwise, I want to mention that Philadelphia has 5 ice rinks run by the city's Parks & Rec department (Cobbs Creek/Sims, Tarken, Simons, Scanlon, Rizzo). They may not be the fanciest, but they are FREE, most offer 2 hours of public skating per week, and are open Oct-May (more or less). They are in underserved neighborhoods, but if you are concerned about rinks like PSCHS being "too bougie" for your tastes, you will be pleased to find yourself amongst an incredibly diverse and welcoming crowd of folks. I *adore* skating at Sims (the closest to my home) but sometimes the lack of ice supervision and the gaggle of children sometimes can overwhelm me and derail my evening. But if you are looking for a place to skate and you want to keep it low-budget, these rinks are your best bet—and the best-kept secret of the city.

Lastly, I want to mention the Skatium in Havertown. They are a hockey-dominated rink, but probably one of the best sheets of ice in the area. More ice time is available for figure skaters in the off-season, and they have one of the best skate sharpeners in the area. If you have a car, it's a 10 minute drive from the 69th Street Station.

Offline nicklaszlo

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Re: Philadelphia Ice Rink Reviews - figure skating perspective
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2016, 04:23:23 PM »
Moderator note:  Philadelphia reviews are being moved to this thread.