Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Mystery of Freestyle Ice

I have 3 rinks within driving distance of me. These are their drop-in charges.

Rink A charges by the quarter hour--$4.50 a quarter. $18 an hour. (allows bridging)

Rink B charges a flat $10 an hour. (Bridging unknown)

Rink C charges a flat $14 for three-quarters of an hour. (And *no* bridging)

These are the 3 rinks' freestyle qualities.

Rink C has ice as hard as diamond, but more coaches than leaves in the fall, and freestyle hours coming out of the yin-yang. HUGE ADULT SKATER COMMUNITY...Did I say the ice was crap?

Rink B has 'okay' ice (it's sometimes rough, but not hard), but I don't know any of the coaches. But in addition to being the closest, it's also the cheapest. And ice times that are incredibly convenient. But NO ADULT SKATER COMMUNITY.

Rink A has DIVINE ICE. I know all the coaches. And two hours of freestyle a day at the most inconvenient times. HUGE ADULT SKATER COMMUNITY.

Outside: I'm all Hillary Clinton. Worldly, mature, aware that others are in pain and need my help and sympathy.

Madame Secretary

Inside: I'm 8.

Why can't I have cheap freestyle, near my house,
with coaches I know, with GOOD ICE!
And an adult skater community!


Sorry, had to get that out of my system.


  1. I totally feel your pain. My rink has weekday lunchtime public ice: $5 for TWO hours, with generally a maximum of five other people besides me there. It's 3 minutes from my house (and I work from home 3 days/wk). But the ice has been known to look like a pond (complete with twigs one day and slushy puddles another!) some days and like perfection on others. There are almost NO adult skaters there, and the program is run haphazardly and with no seriousness whatsoever. BUT BUT BUT: $5 for 2 hours of ice that I usually have all to myself for at least 30 minutes???! It's really hard to beat.

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  3. All the rinks in my area have comparable freestyle prices, but the one closest to me has the most restricted schedule, the most unpredictable ice and zero adult community. But it's where my coach is and the sessions are lightly attended, so they're much less intimidating. I don't think the attendance bodes well for the future of the rink, however. I hope they're making a lot of money from hockey. And curling. This rink actually has curling and I live about a thousand miles from Canada.

    One thing I found attractive about skating at the outset was the individual nature of it, but I've been surprised at how much I like skating with other adult skaters, and now skate certain sessions specifically because of the camaraderie. The community is important and it's a fun one because adult skaters are so passionate about the sport. Why else would we do it?

  4. Wow that's expensive! I pay (in the UK) £6 (what's that = $10?) which if I wanted would take me through 4 hours of patch ice (for people of a minimum standard that's not that high - you have to have passed the lowest level NISA test), plus 2 hours of public ice (where I have been known to have the ice to myself).

    The ice is pretty good anyway, and is resurfaced at 6am and 8.30am, then again at 12 and (I think) 3.30 ish.

    I will never complain about the cost of skating again!

    1. Most american rinks are owned as profit making enterprises. It's been my impression that UK rinks are generally what we americans call 'municipal rinks', that is they're not owned by a company, but by a city or county. Still in the US they are run as profit making enterprises.

    2. I get the impression that there are non-profit rinks in New England than your area, Babbette. (Where are you?) My town has a rink run by the non-profit rec-center for kids - they charge $12/hour for freestyle ice. Most of the adjacent towns (3 out of 4) have rinks run by the town - no freestyle ice at all; just public ice and and hockey stuff. The fourth adjacent town has a for-profit rink (also does indoor soccer), and they charge $15/hour for freestyle ice (and they have quiet day-time public sessions, and are open year round!). There are fewer publicly owned rinks than there used to be, as some portion of the rinks owned by the Mass. Dept. of Conservation and Recreation have been sold off - some to towns and some to (I think) for-profit groups.

    3. Ugh - make that "there are more non-profit rinks" in the first sentence.

  5. I would give my left arm for more convenient ice times. Of course, that might throw off my balance on ice. I have zero adult skating community around me. That would be OK if they had more ice time. I get early AM freestyle and crowded evening public. suckage. They cater more to hockey around here, which is odd, considering we're in the "south."

  6. I feel your pain. I'm in NYC and the prices are just what you'd expect for NY. A freestyle can cost from $18 - $26, depending on the rink. Once a week one or two of the rinks will have an evening session, but that's it.

    If I had the money, I'd buy my own rink with freestyle sessions every evening... Sounds wonderful...

  7. Outdoor rink in most decent-sized neighbourhood parks Dec - March : free. Leisure rink almost empty after 8.30 pm flood. Is it morally okay to keep your kid home from school in the morning because she was using free ice to practice the night before until long after responsible bedtime? :-)