Where and How to Go Curling (the Best Olympic Sport!) in Northern Virginia
Last updated: January 19, 2022
The Olympics are coming up, and that means we’ll soon start caring about sports we only care about every four years. Soon, you’ll start hearing your friends talking about skips, hammers, rocks, and yelling things at sweepers: “Yup, yup. Hard, hard. Whoa.” What are they talking about? It’s curling, of course!
Even though the sport is weird, doesn’t mean we should forget about it after the big competition is over. It’s actually a fun way to get out and get some exercise, and there’s several spots in Northern Virginia for you to try it out.
The first evidence of curling appeared during the 16th century in Scotland, where it was played on frozen lochs and ponds. The game spread during the 19th century by Scots who immigrated to places with cold climates: Canada, United States, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway and New Zealand.
House: Giant bull’s eye at either side of the ice
Button: Center of the house
End: Like an inning in baseball, the way a curling game is divided; a game is usually eight or ten ends
Blank End: An end where no points are scored
Eight-ender: A perfect end where a team scores eight points
Rock: Granite playing utensil a curler delivers, usually weighs 44 pounds
Hammer: The last rock of the end
Sweeping: The act of controlling the rock’s path
Each team is made up of four members who each throw two rocks toward the house. Only one team can score per round and gets a point for every rock that is closer to the center of the house.
Members of a Curling Team
Lead–Throws the first two rocks of the end then sweeps the next six
Second–Throws the third and fourth rock of the end; the second and lead sweep in sync
Third–Throws the fifth and sixth rocks, helps setup strategy of the final two throws; also posts score at end of round
Skip–The captain of the team, determines the strategy and throws the last two rocks of the end
Where to Join
There are three options to get in on the curling craze.
Prince William Ice Center
(lessons and teams)
5180 Dale Blvd., Woodbridge, VA; pwice.com
Potomac Curling Club
The Garden Ice House
13810 Old Gunpowder Road, Laurel, MD; curldc.org
Curling Club of Virginia
Richmond Ice Zone
636 Johnston Willis Drive, Chesterfield, VA; curlingva.org
This story originally appeared in our January 2015 issue. For more stories like this, subscribe to the magazine.
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