The Game of Curling in Cache Valley

In 2002 Natural Resources professor, Douglas Jackson-Smith, picked up curling as he was looking for a lower impact sport he could play because of previous injuries. He started a USU Curling Club which quickly grew and eventually became a PE class (PE 1680) that students can take both fall and spring semesters.  

Curling is a sport originating in Scotland hundreds of years ago that was played on iced over lakes. The game is similar to shuffleboard and is played with 40-pound granite stones. Curling became popular in Europe and other places with colder climates. It has not caught on in the United States as much but has made its way to Cache Valley. Though the sport often attracts more attention during the Olympics, the Cache Valley Stone Society has been alive and well since the Olympic games were hosted in Salt Lake City in 2002.  

In an interview with Russ Winn, USU professor who both heads the city league and teaches the class on campus, he talked about how important it is (especially during the winter months) to get out of the house and have a place to go that helps you feel part of the community. The city Curling league welcomes students to join the city league. In fact, some of their best teams have been USU graduate students. The league is for people of all ages and skill levels and usually consists of a group of 50-60 people that competes yearly in tournaments called Bonspiels. 

The game is played by sliding a large, circular, granite stone across the ice by one team member while another clears the way for the stone by rubbing a broom on the ice in the path of the stone. The object of the game is to get the stone as close to the center target (also called the house) at the other end of the arena. Strategy comes in to play when one team’s stone curls in front of other teams stone or knock it out of the way. Russ said it’s “a game of skill not of strength and power.” 

For more information about the Cache Valley Stone Society visit their facebook page or contact Russ at Russell.winn@usu.edu. 

 

Written By: Sarah Wardle