Ice Sheet Preparation
Since there are no dedicated curling facilities in Southern California, we will be converting arena ice to curling ice. Here is a general how-to:
- Removable hack assemblies (2 per curling sheet)
- Pebbling can + appropriate sprinkler head (back-pack style containers are easiest)
- Zamboni or similar ice-resurfacing machine
- Circle-scribing tool
- Portable scoreboards (optional)
Ice Preparation: Hockey players and general skaters do not require the extremely flat ice surface that is necessary for curling. Therefore, the ice-resurfacing process must be slightly modified to accommodate the needs of curling. The edges of the ice surface (within 15 feet of the boards) tend to be the least flat due to normal skating patterns. After the ice is “leveled” to your satisfaction, have the ice re-surfaced with a normal Zamboni flood. After this flood freezes, use the Zamboni to do a dry-scrape along the length of all the sheets (not diagonally) as they normally would drive. Make sure they scrape the entire ice surface (not just the sheets) because it provides much better traction for people wearing shoes, and it tends not to sweat and accumulate humidity the way “shiny” ice does.
Sheet Location: Positioning your 1-4 curling sheets in the middle of the arena can avoid the major flatness problems found in any arena. An international-size arena is 100 ft x 200 ft.
Drawing the Houses: The easiest way to draw temporary houses is to make a scribe tool for drawing circles. This tool consists of a piece of 2×2 lumber, with large Magnum-44 markers at 1-ft / 2-ft / 4-ft / 6-ft distance from a pivot screw. These scribe marks then become a template for using really large / fat permanent magic markers to mark the circles so that they are visible from the other end of the sheet. Remember to use a pesticide-spray container to apply a fine mist over the markings to ensure that the ink doesn’t get all over people’s pants when they slide through. If you are only doing 1 or 2 sheets, it sometimes makes more sense to put in the house at 1 end only. Then you don’t have to worry about sliding through the house at all. You will also require fewer hacks to do it this way.
Pebbling: The ice can be pebbled as it would be in any curling facility. Fill your tank with hot Zamboni water (the hotter the better). Use a standard curling pebbling sprinkler head to ensure that you get the correct pebble size (these are available in catalogs, as are complete pebbling cans). The back-pack style are easier to hold, but are more expensive. It is helpful to pebble a large area of ice behind the hacks so that new curlers get used to sliding on that surface before they step onto the sheet. If you are installing practice-hacks in the arena away from the actual curling sheets, pebble those areas also.