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Making Great Ice: As Seen on TV

Soon it will be that time of year when every curler in Canada wants 15-second ice and five feet of curl – a club ice tech’s nightmare.  Let’s put everything in perspective.

If your club has between two to three feet of curl and 14-second ice, give or take a little, and you have these conditions consistently at your club, then things are great.  Your ice tech is doing a good job. Maintaining those parameters on a day-to-day basis takes a lot of work and dedication.

Arena ice isn't club ice (Photo Andrew Klaver)

At a national event we have three draws a day and a staff of at least eight people per draw to work on the ice.  We scrape the ice every draw, pebble and nip, do a fifth-end clean and re-pebble the slide paths.  We also have at least two people monitoring the ice temperatures and controlling air flow and humidity on a constant basis.  Even with all this, sometimes situations out of our control dictate ice conditions.

What I am trying to say is this: by all means enjoy watching the curling on TV, but don’t get back to your club and expect your rocks and ice and teammates to do what you just saw on the screen.  Instead, enjoy the ice you have. If your ice curls three feet, take three feet of ice. Don’t take four and get upset when the rock doesn’t curl the way you want it to – or the way you saw it curl on TV.

I hope everyone enjoys a great holiday season.  Enjoy the Season of Champions on TSN, and most of all, enjoy your club curling.

Remember, your ice tech doesn’t care if your feet are dirty, but your shoes had better be clean!

Jamie Bourassa is the Head Ice Technician for the Canadian Curling Association