Denver Curling Club Opens Ice to Those Seeking Adventure
Curling club allows Coloradans to test their Olympic skills on the ice
By Natasha Lovato
Despite its 16th century roots and its large doses of etiquette and finesse, the sport of curling is open to nearly everyone.
Pam Finch, event coordinator of the Denver Curling Club (DCC) and former Team USA member, says all players,─ regardless of ability, age or gender ─can participate in sending a 42-pound granite stone down the ice toward a bullseye.
The Denver Curling Club opened in November 2014 as one of the most prominent curling arenas in the West. With leagues seven days a week, as well as scheduled events, corporate events and tournaments, the club is 400 members strong. Additionally, people drop in throughout the year to sample the sport. From elementary-aged kids to seniors and those with disabilities, curling accommodates all participants, adding a few helpful tools so anyone can play.
Interest is at an all-time high. Sure, the gold-medal win by the USA men’s team in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics got the nation’s attention. But the real tipping point was the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, when curling was first televised to a national audience.
Finch emphasized how much the sport had grown since then because of regular folks wanting to participate in an Olympic sport.
“They look like everyday guys. And they are everyday guys. They still have to work at a full-time job after training,” Finch said of the USA Olympians. “They’re not professionals. They’re professionals in the sense that it is a skill, but they don’t get paid like a professional baseball player or football player. So it’s really taken off in clubs around the country.”
Gold-medal Olympian John Shuster visited the DCC in September to offer his expertise to participants at a corporate event. Shuster showed videos from his experiences in PyeongChang and over the past few months since the championship. It was a whirlwind of appearances and photo ops for all of the team members, all while they still worked full-time jobs. Although Shuster is from Minnesota, he had curled in Colorado and around the country over the years, forming friendships along the way.
Finch was one of those friends.
“It’s a small community,” she said. “You go to another curling club, and you’ll always know somebody,” she said. “And if not, you’ll get to know them like you’ve known them all along because you have that one thing — you have curling in common.”
The closeness curlers share with one another is largely based on the peaceful, calm nature of the sport.
Finch said no one is pressured to develop and push their limits like many other sports. Curlers are able to move at their own pace and excel as they wish despite their age or mobility. There are balancing devices and other adjustments that provide opportunities for everyone to play.
“Our Little Rockers league starts at first or second grade and our oldest player is in their late eighties,” Finch said. “So, this is a life sport and a gentleman’s sport. I like the comradery to be able to say to your opponent, ‘that was a nice shot.’ And vice versa. You appreciate the other person’s skill when they make a shot, which is different from other sports. Then you come off the ice and have a nice conversation, get to know your opponents and, as a tradition, the winners buy the losers a drink.”
There is something to be said about the finesse and nuance needed to excel at curling, but truthfully anyone can play.
“There’s all walks of life,” Finch said. “That’s the beauty of working with so many different people. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, if you come out here to play a game, you’ll have fun with it.”
Which only leaves one question: Are you ready to test your Olympic skills? The Denver Curling Club is located at 14100 W. 7th Ave., in Golden.
Colorado native Natasha Lovato will soon graduate from MSU Denver with a degree in Integrative Written Communication in the Arts.
Here are some curling club options around the state:
The Denver Curling Club
Aspen Curling Club, Aspen Ice Garden
Broadmoor Curling Club, World Ice Arena, Colorado Springs
Poudre Valley Curling Club, Edora Pool Ice Center, Fort Collins
Steamboat Springs Curling Club
Telluride Curling Club, Hanley Rink in Telluride Town Park