Try Curling

“Inline to ice” was a frequent phrase during the Olympics as commentators noted how many ice speedskaters were also inline skaters.  Maybe “inline to ice” could also lead to the Olympics in . . . curling?  If you don’t think your skating will get you to PyeongChang (yes, another Olympics next to a war zone) maybe you should give it a shot.

Inliners may have a bit of an advantage due to overdeveloped and heavily used quads and the ability to balance on one leg on an unstable surface. Inliners are also likely to have the flexibility to achieve the required physical positions to throw a stone or sweep a path. Skaters with a firm grasp of inline technique and race tactics are also likely to comprehend and appreciate the strategy of a game sometimes referred to as chess on ice.

I was fortunate enough to have a friend, and curling instructor, show me the ropes this weekend. While I am sure there was a good mix of beginners luck and experienced instruction, the basic concepts were easy enough to grasp and before long I was making throws that seemed to impress my companion. At the very least, you will certainly develop a greater appreciation for the elements of the game and the execution (or lack thereof) by those at the Olympic level.

For about the price of attending one out of town inline event, a curler would be able to become a member of the club and join a league that will last about three months. Once a member of the club, practice ice is available for a nominal fee. The United States has sent the same team to the Olympics the last two times – and finished poorly both times. You might have a better shot learning to curl than learning to out skate Mantia.

The following video is a great introduction to the game with a brief history followed by instruction from Olympians:


 

For more information and Try Curling courses see the Four Seasons Curling Club at Fogerty Ice Rink in Blaine.

A Learn to Curl clinic is a great way for anyone, age 6 to adult, to get your first exposure to the sport. Each lesson is a 2-hour introduction and instructional session that teaches people the basics of curling. Participants learn physical play, rules, and strategy.

A Learn to Curl clinic includes:

30 minutes of classroom instruction to go over terminology, ice safety, and rules
1-1/2 hours of ice time
Instruction on how to deliver the stone, how to sweep, and basic strategy
A two- or three-end game (as many as time allows)

What to wear?

Clothing

  • Dress in layers. The arena temperature is about 45-50 degrees. You’ll be standing on ice for two hours. If you normally wear a hat outside, you’ll probably want to wear one while curling as well.
  • Clothing should allow freedom of movement. You need to be able to squat and lunge (blue jeans are not recommended since your movement is restricted).
  • Lightweight gloves keep your hands warm while still allowing you to feel the stone.
  • Fleece or velour jackets are a poor choice for curling because they have a tendency to shed fluff balls, which can impact the path of a rock and are difficult to remove from the ice surface.

Footwear

  • Clean shoes!
  • Athletic shoes are fine. Please consider buying a dedicated pair of shoes for curling if you decide to continue curling or join a league. Any little grain of sand or pebble from shoes can affect the path of the stone. If you’ve worn them outside, please make sure you clean them before you curl in them.
  • Avoid shoes with eyelets or metal on top.
  • If your feet tend to get cold, consider wearing two pairs of socks.

The Club will supply any other equipment necessary.

 


There is no zamboni on curling ice sheets. Instead a two step process is employed that results in a “pebbling” of the ice. First, water is dropped onto the ice (see the guy in the photo above). Second, a giant razor blade is pushed across the ice to ensure all of the water droplets/pebbles are the same height. The pebbling allows air to move under the curling stones.

 
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