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Author Topic: Fritz Dietl Rink in Westwood, NJ  (Read 519 times)

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Offline FigureSpins

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Fritz Dietl Rink in Westwood, NJ
« on: March 22, 2016, 08:16:53 AM »
When I was a young adult, I skated at Dietl's at least once a week.  It's a cool place, reminiscent of a prior generation.  You should visit it at least once in your life, just to see the memorabilia and experience the atmosphere of a hand-made ice rink.  The counters, cabinets and walls are old-world workmanship.

I swear Mr. Dietl bought an old auto repair garage and turned the bays into an ice rink.  The rink walls are literally up against the cement block outer walls.  No need for hockey netting or annoying spectators - they're sequestered in the waiting room where they peer through little windows and swinging kitchen doors.  You step through those doors right onto the very-irregular ice rink.

Very nostalgic - know how small everything from your childhood feels when you go back as an adult?  That's this rink - it's probably the size of the Rink at Rockefeller Center, with square corners. 

The ice itself was much better back in the day. I'm sad to say that the square corners can't be cut with the Zamboni so they're like pond ice - bumpy, rutted and unskateable.  There are a number of patches in the sand-based ice surface. I half-expected a fish to look up at me through the dark-colored spots.  The main part of the ice was rutted with Zamboni slush trails.  All in all, not good ice, which is sad because they used to have really great ice before Mr. Dietl passed away.

I was charged $12 for an hour freestyle.  It was an empty club session but I didn't know anyone and the radio was blasting loudly like a public session.  I didn't stay until the end. 

The session was unique - skaters and coaches essentially staked out a spot for their lesson and stayed there the whole time unless they were running through a program or setting up a jump (which required full ice.)  The usual FS rules didn't apply, which I figured out quickly. 

Best feature: the rink walls still have the "patch" lines and some of the numbers.  That was for School Figure sessions.  I put a few photos here: http://skatingforums.com/index.php?topic=3983.msg84954#msg84954

The rink does have a short harness run, which I didn't remember. (Perhaps it's newish) 
Parking is terrible (and always has been) - the lot is small and on-street parking is metered.
I wouldn't eat at the snack counter.  'nuff said.
The restrooms and locker room (singular) are well-maintained.
The waiting area is clean but worn.  The handmade benches are charming, though.

I wouldn't recommend this as a training rink for anyone above a beginner but it is an interesting place to skate.
"If you still look good after skating practice, you didn't work hard enough."

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Offline theoreticalgirl

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Re: Fritz Dietl Rink in Westwood, NJ
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2016, 10:48:53 AM »
I used to train at Fritz Dietl in the 1990s and I can assure you that the ice was lousy back then. In fact, it's where I had my only serious skating injury. I remember Fritz saying "It's only a sprain," as I crawled across the ice with a leg that was fractured in THREE places (and took 9 months of recovery). Ah, those misty water-colored memories.

Offline FigureSpins

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Re: Fritz Dietl Rink in Westwood, NJ
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2016, 11:57:58 AM »
I skated there in the mid-to-late 1980's and it wasn't bad at all. 
"If you still look good after skating practice, you didn't work hard enough."

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