Time for Curling

People curling at the Utica Curling Club in Whitesboro. Photo courtesy of Utica Curling Club.
People curling at the Utica Curling Club in Whitesboro. Photo courtesy of Utica Curling Club.

Sport grows in popularity across New York

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

You’ve done skating, snowboarding, skiing, luge, sledding and ice climbing — or perhaps none of those things. Regardless, if you want to try a different winter sport, check out curling. It’s growing in popularity across New York.

A game widely played in Scotland in the 16th century, curling looks like a combination of bowling and shuffleboard — on ice. Two teams compete in an effort to slide their “stone” or “rock” — which resembles a wheel of cheese and a kettlebell — down a 138-foot sheet of ice to the “house,” or goal at the end. When the stone is cast, teammates sweep debris off the stone’s path to help it reach the center of the goal but they may not touch the stone with their brooms.

When it’s their turn, the opposing team tries to cast their stone to bump the other stone farther from the center while keeping their stones in the center, like a game of marbles. Whichever team ends up closer to the center wins.

“It’s a sport that emphasizes strategy, communication and good sportsmanship,” said Roger S. Rowlett, president of the Utica Curling Club in Whitesboro. “It’s a game that people of all ages and physical abilities can play.”

He added that having a fun and social activity can help winter pass more quickly. Players can curl indoors or outside.

The Utica Curling Club (www.uticacurlingclub.org) represents the largest dedicated curling facility in the Eastern U.S.

The facility boasts six sheets of curling ice. The club operates from October through March with fall league play from October through December and winter leagues starting in January and concluding in March.

To try out curling at home, clear a frozen waterway of snow for the appropriate distance. Mark a “house” at one end. Freeze gallon jugs three-quarters full for stones. Cast the jugs on their sides. Use household brooms to clear the path.

If you enjoy it and want to try curling, reach out to a local curling club.

Where to Curl

New York curling clubs include:

• Albany Curling Club www.albanycurlingclub.com

• Ardsley Curling Club https://ardsleycurling.com

• Brooklyn Lakeside Curling Club https://www.facebook.com/brooklyncurling

• Finger Lakes Curling Club https://fingerlakescurling.org

• Lake Placid Curling Club www.lpcurling.org

• Long Island Curling Club www.licurling.org

• New York Caledonian Curling Club www.facebook.com/nycaledonian

• Rochester Curling Club www.rochestercurling.org

• Schenectady Curling Club www.schenectadycurlingclub.us

• Utica Curling Club www.uticacurlingclub.org

Find more at www.curlingbonspiels.com/findclub.