The winter sport you’ve been waiting for is here | ParkRecord.com

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The winter sport you’ve been waiting for is here

Finally, a winter sport that Parkites don’t dominate. At least, not yet.

Beginning shortly, the Park City Curling Club will take to the ice once a week to practice a game that remains an enigma to many in the area. The season begins on Sept. 27 and continues until December, will take a break before returning for a winter session. Last year, said club director Debbie Basrak, many possible players were kept away because times conflicted with skiing and other winter sports. This year, the club will practice on Saturdays from 5:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. Curlers should have more than enough time to ski a full day and still hit the ice rink at Quinn’s Junction for a full evening of curling.

The game, perhaps best known as an Olympic event, is essentially an icy relative of shuffleboard. Players slide a 42-pound rock or stone down an ice sheet in an attempt to place it closest to the center of a large bullseye called the "tee" or "button," which rests in the center of a greater target called the "house."

Players compete in teams of four and alternate turns sending out rocks and sweeping in front of other rocks. Sweeping, possibly the most visible aspect of the sport, serves to control the motion of the rock as it progresses toward the house. Generally, curling surfaces are intentionally made uneven by spraying drops of water called "pebbles" along the surface. These pebbles also provide a gliding surface as they melt under pressure and create a water track. The "skip," each team’s captain or anchor, is solely responsible for calling the strategy and telling other players how to release the rock and how to sweep strategically.

This season will be only the third that curling has been available in Park City. Prior to the inception of the club, which coincided with the opening of the Park City Ice Arena, the closest curling was in Ogden. When she first started the club, Basrak said that she had to drive to Ogden frequently to borrow rocks for their practices.

Now the curling club has more than enough rocks. The club also owns brooms, sliders (shoe slips that allow a player to glide along the ice during release of the rock) and, of course, the ice itself. Future club members to the club need only provide warm clothes, sneakers and gloves. The warm clothes are suggested despite the fact that curling can actually provide a fair amount of exercise and really warm people up, said Basrak.

The club will be open to all of those interested. No experience is necessary and Basrak said that she teach the fundamentals of the game in about an hour. After that, the player should be able to enjoy the competition and will likely pick up finer aspects of strategy as the season progresses.

All events, possibly even the after-practice socials, will be held at the Park City Ice Arena. For more information, call Basrak at 901-2595.