What is Curling?
Many people are familiar with curling thanks to recent Winter Olympics, but this unique arctic sport is extremely popular in Alaska even when the Olympics aren’t happening. Curling was officially included as an Olympic sport during the 1998 games in Nagano with eight teams for men and women, and the rest is history, so to speak. While some believe curling is a relatively new sport, this is hardly the case. Dating back to 16th-century Scotland, curling is often described as the “Roarin’ Game” and is thought to have started as an enjoyable pastime of tossing stones over the ice during harsh Northern European winters.
Today the sport is quite popular, especially in colder climates such as Alaska. So what is it, exactly? Each curling game consists of 10 “ends” or periods where teams take turns sliding a 42-pound polished granite stone across the ice towards a bull’s eye with a “tee” in the center. This is also called the “house”. Players from each team will shoot twice in each end, earning points when their stones are closest to the tee once all 16 shots have been completed. If you’ve ever watched curling before, you may be wondering what all the sweeping is about. Once a player releases a stone, the other players begin furiously sweeping the surface to guide its path to the house.
Where Can I See Curling in Fairbanks?
There are numerous curling clubs throughout the state, and the sport’s world championships attracts fans and huge television audiences regularly. With the XXII Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang coming up in February 2018, we are seeing excitement growing and lots of great events throughout the state. If you happen to be visiting Fairbanks in the coming weeks or months, you may be able to witness some of our country’s curling greats. Your best bet for catching a curling event in Fairbanks is through the Fairbanks Curling Club.
The Fairbanks Curling Club was established in 1905, making it one of the oldest sporting organizations in Alaska. When it first started in Fairbanks, curling was actually done right on the Chena River! As you can imagine, Alaskans were immediately taken with the sport and the Fairbanks Curling Club quickly grew. Today there are about 250 members and teams often match up against Canadians along the border and other clubs throughout Alaska.
Alaska’s curling season runs from the first week of October to the first week of April, giving visitors and residents alike ample time to catch a game. The Club hosts numerous major events on most weeknights starting at 7 p.m. and weekends as well, including the International Bonspiel in the spring and the Yukon Title in November.
Other opportunities to see curling in Fairbanks include:
- December 16&17 the Alaska Club National Playdowns (featuring Team USA of the 2018 Olympics)
- December 27&28 the Alaska Mixed Playdown
Be sure and check the Fairbanks Curling Club calendar here to see when you may be able to catch a match. We hope you enjoy your visit to Fairbanks and are able to take in our favorite arctic sport – you won’t be disappointed! Need a ride to the Fairbanks Curling Club? Give our shared shuttle service a call!