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Thread: Figure skating rinks near American universities

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    Figure skating rinks near American universities

    Hi everyone,

    I'm an international student starting a PhD in America in the coming fall who is wondering where the nearest figure skating facilities near Brown University or the University of Michigan Ann Arbor are. So far, I've been accepted into these two universities, amongst other pending applications, and a recurring theme in the rinks near these universities is forbidding figure skating during public sessions. Where I'm from, I can jump and spin however long I want during public sessions as long as it's safe. Can anyone please help me out here?

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    Is your question what are the best rinks near these schools or where you can find a rink that will let you do whatever you want on a public session? In my (albeit limited) experience that's not common here in the states. Most public sessions limit what you're allowed to do to a certain extent. However I'll also say that you can often get away with doing other things and no one cares if the public session is during the middle of the day and completely dead. At my rink you're not allowed to perform any moves above what you'd see in LTS Basic 6 (basic one foot spins--ok! waltz jumps--no). The circle in the center of the rink, however, is coned off for figure skating practice and even though the same rules apply there, I usually find kids doing single jumps and whatnot anyway. So it just kind of depends on the staff at the rink, the rules and how much they are or aren't enforced.

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    It's not uncommon at US rinks for jumps and spins to be forbidden on public sessions, or perhaps only allowed in a coned off area at center ice. Instead, many rinks provide freestyle sessions, which are where you can practice jumps, spins, moves, ice dance, and etc. You can check to see if the rinks near your potential unis offer freestyle sessions.

    In my area of the US, it can be possible to do some free skating on public sessions if the session isn't busy, depending on the rink. Often, the sessions during the school hours for younger kids (so around 9am to about 2pm) tend to be pretty empty.

    And while pretty much all US rinks will say they forbid jumping and spinning during public sessions, whether or not they really do will depend on the rink. Some enforce this quite strictly, others, less so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HopeSpringsEternal View Post
    Is your question what are the best rinks near these schools or where you can find a rink that will let you do whatever you want on a public session? In my (albeit limited) experience that's not common here in the states. Most public sessions limit what you're allowed to do to a certain extent. However I'll also say that you can often get away with doing other things and no one cares if the public session is during the middle of the day and completely dead. At my rink you're not allowed to perform any moves above what you'd see in LTS Basic 6 (basic one foot spins--ok! waltz jumps--no). The circle in the center of the rink, however, is coned off for figure skating practice and even though the same rules apply there, I usually find kids doing single jumps and whatnot anyway. So it just kind of depends on the staff at the rink, the rules and how much they are or aren't enforced.

    Quote Originally Posted by RoaringMice View Post
    It's not uncommon at US rinks for jumps and spins to be forbidden on public sessions, or perhaps only allowed in a coned off area at center ice. Instead, many rinks provide freestyle sessions, which are where you can practice jumps, spins, moves, ice dance, and etc. You can check to see if the rinks near your potential unis offer freestyle sessions.

    In my area of the US, it can be possible to do some free skating on public sessions if the session isn't busy, depending on the rink. Often, the sessions during the school hours for younger kids (so around 9am to about 2pm) tend to be pretty empty.

    And while pretty much all US rinks will say they forbid jumping and spinning during public sessions, whether or not they really do will depend on the rink. Some enforce this quite strictly, others, less so.
    I guess my question is indeed where can I do whatever I want. I'm hoping to have a few doubles to practice by August and certainly a few spins. So, if I find a rink that's empty, they won't mind if I'm jumping around? The wording online appeared to forbid figure skating regardless, whereas where I'm from, it only says 'figure skating is at the discretion of the staff'. It sounds a bit hit and miss, so maybe I'll have to try my luck at a few rinks and see which ones kick me out

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    Quote Originally Posted by lzxnl View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I'm an international student starting a PhD in America in the coming fall who is wondering where the nearest figure skating facilities near Brown University or the University of Michigan Ann Arbor are. So far, I've been accepted into these two universities, amongst other pending applications, and a recurring theme in the rinks near these universities is forbidding figure skating during public sessions. Where I'm from, I can jump and spin however long I want during public sessions as long as it's safe. Can anyone please help me out here?
    20 min drive from University MI Ann Arbor to Arctic Edge of Canton rink.

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    I think you should be asking where there are rinks that have sessions where you can practice figure skating. If you insist on doing it at a public session, where it's explicitly forbidden, you're going to run into problems.

    To use an analogy, if you want to lane swim, you would seek out a swimming pool with lane swim sessions. You wouldn't go in the middle of an aquafit class or children's swim classes, and insist on swimming lanes there.

    So forget public sessions and what you do where you come from and look for sessions where you can figure skate.

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    In addition to looking at the schedule for freestyle sessions on the rink website, look at the websites for any figure skating clubs affiliated with each rink, and what their schedules are. Often the clubs will purchase sessions for freestyle use. In this case, you usually ( in our area) have to go through the club, and pay the club, to get on the ice. How this works, and the specific procedures, differ around the country, and even differ if the rink is owned by a community or is privately owned. But make sure you look at club websites too.
    Most freestyle sessions at most rinks will be in the hours when school kids are not in school, but that can also differ if the rink has a good number of elite skaters training there. But if you are doing doubles you belong on freestyles. You may have to show proof of your level to be admitted to certain sessions. Don't be offended; its done for everyones safety.
    Good luck choosing a program! They are both great schools.

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    congratulations!
    Many or most universities have figure skating clubs for the students, allowing you to access the university rink for freestyle ice. There are many rinks in and close to Ann Arbor - will you have a car?

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    I live in MI; and you would have a lot of options near Ann Arbor. You'll need to probably join a figure skating club so you can skate on club freestyle sessions. The good thing about MI is almost every place you skate here ice is $10/hour. This is really cheap compared to most areas. If you contract, some places end up even less. If you want to work on jumps and spins, you will need to be on freestyle ice sessions not public sessions.

    You can look into the Ann Arbor FSC, Canton, and maybe Novi if you can drive a bit. Canton is really nice, the sharpener that stops in there on Tuesdays is Denny Jaques and he is AMAZING. Don't let anyone else touch your blades if you come out here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nimyue View Post
    I live in MI; and you would have a lot of options near Ann Arbor. You'll need to probably join a figure skating club so you can skate on club freestyle sessions. The good thing about MI is almost every place you skate here ice is $10/hour. This is really cheap compared to most areas. If you contract, some places end up even less. If you want to work on jumps and spins, you will need to be on freestyle ice sessions not public sessions.

    You can look into the Ann Arbor FSC, Canton, and maybe Novi if you can drive a bit. Canton is really nice, the sharpener that stops in there on Tuesdays is Denny Jaques and he is AMAZING. Don't let anyone else touch your blades if you come out here.
    Actually, DSC at Bloomfield Hills is great too, and Fred is not bad at what he does.

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    You might want to check with the university to see if they offer figure skating for a fitness credit at your level which you should be able to take as a doctoral candidate. And since you are a member of the student body you might want to see if either Brown or UM have figure skating clubs that you could join to get access to their club time.

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    At some rinks, some weekday public skates are almost or completely empty. Even if a certain rink doesn't allow figure skating, I can't imagine anyone would care what you do if you're literally the only one on the ice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ducky View Post
    And since you are a member of the student body you might want to see if either Brown or UM have figure skating clubs that you could join to get access to their club time.
    http://umich.edu/~umfsc/ <--UM's club
    https://brownrec.com/index.aspx?path=figureskate <--something from Brown, not sure if a club

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    Quote Originally Posted by hanyuufan5 View Post
    At some rinks, some weekday public skates are almost or completely empty. Even if a certain rink doesn't allow figure skating, I can't imagine anyone would care what you do if you're literally the only one on the ice.



    http://umich.edu/~umfsc/ <--UM's club
    https://brownrec.com/index.aspx?path=figureskate <--something from Brown, not sure if a club
    The rinks in Ann Arbor and Detroit will not be empty during the day. They have freestyle ice throughout the day.

    If OP was in West MI, then definitely in the summer especially there are rinks here that public skate is totally empty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nimyue View Post
    I live in MI; and you would have a lot of options near Ann Arbor. You'll need to probably join a figure skating club so you can skate on club freestyle sessions. The good thing about MI is almost every place you skate here ice is $10/hour. This is really cheap compared to most areas. If you contract, some places end up even less. If you want to work on jumps and spins, you will need to be on freestyle ice sessions not public sessions.

    You can look into the Ann Arbor FSC, Canton, and maybe Novi if you can drive a bit. Canton is really nice, the sharpener that stops in there on Tuesdays is Denny Jaques and he is AMAZING. Don't let anyone else touch your blades if you come out here.
    $10/hr!? Wow that's actually a little expensive compared to where I am here; I spend $15 for up to 8 hours of skating (I say up to as I get tired; theoretical upper bound on ice time every day is about 14 hours). I guess different country, different system.

    Quote Originally Posted by loveohio View Post
    In addition to looking at the schedule for freestyle sessions on the rink website, look at the websites for any figure skating clubs affiliated with each rink, and what their schedules are. Often the clubs will purchase sessions for freestyle use. In this case, you usually ( in our area) have to go through the club, and pay the club, to get on the ice. How this works, and the specific procedures, differ around the country, and even differ if the rink is owned by a community or is privately owned. But make sure you look at club websites too.
    Most freestyle sessions at most rinks will be in the hours when school kids are not in school, but that can also differ if the rink has a good number of elite skaters training there. But if you are doing doubles you belong on freestyles. You may have to show proof of your level to be admitted to certain sessions. Don't be offended; its done for everyones safety.
    Good luck choosing a program! They are both great schools.
    Hmm. Where I'm from, we can jump doubles in public sessions even when not so empty provided we stay safe. I've seen a guy practice all his doubles, minus lutz and axel, when the walls are full of beginners, and no one minds as he jumps quite far away from other skaters.

    Quote Originally Posted by NanaPat View Post
    I think you should be asking where there are rinks that have sessions where you can practice figure skating. If you insist on doing it at a public session, where it's explicitly forbidden, you're going to run into problems.

    To use an analogy, if you want to lane swim, you would seek out a swimming pool with lane swim sessions. You wouldn't go in the middle of an aquafit class or children's swim classes, and insist on swimming lanes there.

    So forget public sessions and what you do where you come from and look for sessions where you can figure skate.
    The analogy to me seems to be more, if you want to lane swim and there are 10 lanes allotted to general swimming, but only 5 lanes are taken by the swim classes, shouldn't the remaining 5 lanes be available to whoever? The system might be different in America though; I'm speaking on behalf of us Australians.

    Thanks everyone for the replies! However, I just got notified that I got into MIT, so I'll probably end up going there instead, and there seem to be a lot of rinks in Boston, including one at MIT. Hopefully I can make something work there. I'll keep everyone's advice in mind!

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    Quote Originally Posted by lzxnl View Post
    $10/hr!? Wow that's actually a little expensive compared to where I am here; I spend $15 for up to 8 hours of skating (I say up to as I get tired; theoretical upper bound on ice time every day is about 14 hours). I guess different country, different system.


    Can I have your old place of residence!? I pay more than $15 for one hour.

    Quote Originally Posted by lzxnl View Post
    Thanks everyone for the replies! However, I just got notified that I got into MIT, so I'll probably end up going there instead, and there seem to be a lot of rinks in Boston, including one at MIT. Hopefully I can make something work there. I'll keep everyone's advice in mind!
    Wow, congratulations! Brown, UM, now MIT. Very impressive!

    By the way, the MIT Figure Skating Club has subsidized private lessons. I'm not sure the details, but you might want to look into that!

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    I was going to say that in my experience, the elite unis do subsidize their skating clubs, to various extents. You definitely want to check into the MIT skating club. Looks like they offer subsidized ice time and lessons. They may also cover the entry fees to competitions, if you're interested.

    MIT is awesome, in a great location, tons of skating as well. Fabulous and welcome to Boston/Cambridge!

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    First off, congrats on getting into Brown, UMich, and MIT! :D

    I attended MIT for graduate school from 2016-2018 and joined the MIT Figure Skating Club in 2016 (and remain an active member). They're a fantastic group: a wide network of students, alumni, and staff, and skaters of all levels, from beginners who've never set foot on ice before to high-level competitive skaters. We only have ice time on campus from October through March, but there's a lot of practice ice time every day (usually Monday through Friday 8-9:30 am, Saturday 7am-11:45am, Sunday 9am-12:45pm, plus Monday afternoon ice). There are designated times on Saturday and Sunday for ice dance and moves in the field, but otherwise you're welcome to do freestyle on all other sessions. It's only $10/year for students to join the club, and you get access to all the club practice ice. The club does subsidize for lessons - up to $200 each year, with priority given to skaters to compete on behalf of MIT at the collegiate competitions. The club gets most of its funding from hosting competitions, and tries to help keep costs low for students

    For off-campus options, there are a few:
    - The Skating Club of Boston (SCOB) is nearby and can be easily reached via public transportation. Only caveats are that the ice time is rather expensive ($23 for a 50-min session for non-SCOB members), some sessions are very crowded (early morning and late afternoon), and some sessions are closed to SCOB members only.
    - The Veterans Memorial arena in Somerville has free public skating time Monday through Friday 12-3pm, and public skating on Sunday afternoon 4-6pm. Skaters are allowed to jump and spin, though it may be difficult sometimes when it's very crowded.
    - Warrior Ice Arena (where the Bruins train) also offers some freestyle ice. They have public skating sessions, too, but I've heard you cannot jump or spin during that time.

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited by MidnightTiger; 02-16-2019 at 12:31 PM.

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    There are quite a few free rinks in Boston in the winter. I lived in a different area but my experience was they were very crowded on weekends and evenings and completely empty during school hours. There didn’t seem to be any enforced rules and you could pretty much do anything you want. Only downside is the ice quality is not always the best. You can look up all the DCR rinks on mass.gov. Also look up FMC Ice sports. They have a bunch of rinks in Boston and they stay open in the summer. I think public skating is around $5. So lots of cheap options in the area.

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    Thanks, MidnightTiger, for the informative post, and welcome to Golden Skate. Post often, post long!

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    Congratulations on your acceptance to two outstanding U. S. Universities, lzxnl.

    Golden Slate actually maintains a list of links to various skating clubs and facilities that you can investigate.

    https://goldenskate.com/directories/...united-states/

    https://goldenskate.com/directories/...-rhode-island/

    https://goldenskate.com/directories/...s-in-michigan/
    Last edited by Mathman; 02-16-2019 at 01:39 PM.

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