Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Curling under an open sky

Over the past year, I've had correspondence with Alice Mansell about dollies and other aspects of outside curling! She represents a group of curlers from the San Francisco Bay Area Curling Club who were looking forward to organising an outdoor bonspiel at a seasonal rink in Palo Alto, California. Well, it did happen!

Alice writes, "I studied your Skip Cottage and Curling History blogs to see how to curl outdoors. Painted up some tee-markers, screwed nails into a redwood board for a tee-ringer, and booked evening ice time at Palo Alto's Winter Lodge. On January 8, 2011, three brave club souls loaded up cold rocks from the fridge at our San Jose ice area plus hacks, brooms, pebblers, and sliders. After about 30 minutes of work, we had the Palo Alto rink ready for play with curlers led onto the ice by the Los Gatos and Monte Sereno Police Pipe and Drums playing 'Scotland the Brave.

The photo above is of Alice with Rob H, the winner of the first Draw the Button contest. Around 88 learners took part.

Action in Palo Alto, and a dolly!

Instruction underway.

Alice says, "At dinner of pizza and beer near the rink afterwards, several club members made plans to run a funspiel in Palo Alto and also find some natural ice in the Sierra Nevada mountains where ice fishermen report several feet of ice most years on lakes close to highways.

Keep your fingers crossed for us we can get enough stones up the hills to curl on Big Outdoor Ice and I'll cross my fingers you'll have a Grand Match this Winter."

More photos here.

Thanks Alice. Great to know about the enthusiasm for curling in California.

Of course, back here in Scotland, Judith McFarlane, our Royal Club Development Manager headed up an effort to showcase our sport during the Hogmanay celebrations in Glasgow's George Square. Ice technicians George Munro and John Heron from the Waterfront turned the temporary skating rink into two lanes of high quality curling ice in a short time and, by all accounts, did a fantastic job.

The curling come and try proved to be extremely popular with more demand than could be catered for in the four hours. Between 7 and 11 pm, some 170 were introduced to the sport, with the music continuing on the George Square stage. Many of those who participated were from abroad! Apparently, the atmosphere was simply buzzing with the outdoor curling providing a real spectacle for the 5000 party-goers.

I think a big 'well done' is due to Judith and her helpers who made this happen.

The two photos below are courtesy of Glasgow Life. More here.

Curling in George Square, Hogmanay, 2010.

Glasgow's Miles Better, or what.

It's looking more and more like the chance for a Grand match this season may be slipping away. However, if you fancy a wee trip you could always sign up for the WORLD POND CURLING BONSPIEL, February 4-6, 2011. This is scheduled to be held in the 1000 Islands on the Beautiful St. Lawrence River in 'Gorgeous Gananoque', see here, or click on the image above.

According to the blurb it will be 'one Rock'n Roll of a time'.