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Curling sweeps into town

Adia Waldburger, of the Record staff

It’s here.

Finally after months of waiting, wishing and wanting it has finally come.

With the new year, comes the long awaited arrival of the sport of curling to Park City.

On the night of Jan. 6, the Utah Winter Games (UWG) and the Park City Ice Arena will hold a curling open house to kick off the start of a new curling club forming in the area. With just 64 spots open, reservations for the open house filled quickly and showed just how high the demand was for the curious sport from Scotland. In fact, UWG is already considering a second open house to meet the demand.

With the help of the Ogden Curling Club, which has been active since the end of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, the UWG will bring some of the state’s best certified instructors and the thousands of dollars and pounds of equipment it takes to play the game.

According to UWG director of account services Courtney Morrison, the open house will cover the fundamentals of the game and give participants time to try the sport for themselves. For those unable to get into the open house will still be opportunities to join the curling club and learn the sport at that time.

Morrison says that the sport is popular, because it is accessible to the general public.

"We have found that it is something that is so unique and really supports all ability levels and ages. It’s something where the whole family can come," Morrison said.

This is a long-awaited addition for ice arena general manager Stacey Noonan. She says because of the immense weight and cost of curling equipment (about $20,000) it has been a difficult task to get the sport started. She called for a committee earlier this year to find some Parkites to spearhead the effort and form a curling club. Acupuncturist Dr. Scott Zuckerman, who was named club president, along with Amanda Coleman and Debbie Basrak answered the call and have since put together the necessary structure needed for the club.

"We think curling is a fun sport, so let’s get this thing going in Park City," Zuckerman said.

Zuckerman first fell in love with the sport in 2002, after watching the women’s gold medal game in the Olympics. Ever since, he has been committed to learning the sport and bringing it to Park City.

"We’re completing something that been lacking in Park City and it’s really a lot of fun," Zuckerman said.

The committee hopes to raise the money needed to purchase all of the equipment which includes the $800-apiece curling stones. Zuckerman’s company, Medical Acupuncture of New York, has already sponsored the club and he is hoping that other businesses in the community will join in. He says that sponsoring companies will be included on their club banner at the ice rink. The Park City Curling Club will work under the Ogden Curling Club until the local club becomes self-sustaining and so will share their non-profit status. That means all donations are tax deductible. The committee has also put together a $1,000 lifetime memberships to the club for a limited time, which include a free session of Learn to Curl, 20 percent off of all future curling fees, fleece vests from Medical Acupuncture of New York, their names engraved on one of the club’s stones, and, of course, a part in the legacy of curling in Park City.

"We’re trying to establish something that is a great investment," Zuckerman said. "It’s part of the legacy of establishing a program that will last for years to come."

He says that he is encouraged by the popularity of the open house and hopes it bodes well for a strong and vital club in the area.

The arrival of curling in Park City had also been a dream for UWG executive director Heidi Hughes. With clubs in both Salt Lake and Ogden, she felt it was time for Park City to join in the movement.

"We’ve just really wanted to be a part of the birth of curling in Park City at the Park City Ice Arena.," Hughes said. "It was just so exciting to see the turnout for this."

"The Utah Winter Games exists to support and promote Utah’s Olympic legacy," says Hughes. "As Utahns, it’s unique. We own it. We have world-class facilities and coaches and they belong to us."

Thus far, the rink has only one curling house, or official game lines, painted onto the ice, but Noonan says they will draw more as necessary.

Noonan also says that the sport should be in full swing at the rink by mid-February. On Saturday afternoons the club will meet for games, instruction and social enjoyment. At about the same time, the rink will also offer a Learn to Curl eight-week class for novices that want to take part in the club. The club will borrow stones from Ogden until they raise the money to purchase their own.

Zuckerman even dreams of one day having curling leagues, traveling to matches in and out of the state and eventually moving to special ice that correctly creates the pebbly ice surface needed for official curling matches.

The open house will be held on Saturday, Jan. 6 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at the Park City Ice Arena. The class is already filled, but Morrison says to check the website in case of any cancellations. Participants must be 18 and up and wear loose-

fitting pants, a light jacket and a clean pair of sneakers. For more information, visit http://www.UtahWinterGames.org .

For more information about joining or sponsoring the Park City Curling Club, contact Zuckerman at 901-0057 or e-mail scottzuck@mcmpc.net.


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