What is curling?


How do you play curling? 

Curling is a team sport of great skill and strategy that dates back to Scotland some 500 years ago. Though the game has evolved and developed greatly over the years, the basic premise is the same; to get more of your stones closer to the center of the target than your opponents. Click here to download a printable PDF document showing how the game scores.

Today; curling is played on a sheet of ice 15 feet wide by 146 feet long. The stones are 42lb each and there are 16 stones – 8 per team. Click here to upload a printable PDF document with terminology and dimensions of a curling sheet.

There are four people on each team; each person alternates throwing two stones. The shot making requires precision not unlike billiards, darts or golf; the strategic thinking required to win has lead curling to be referred to as “chess on ice”. It can be a very competitive game of great mental and physical challenge, or it can be a very relaxing game strictly for recreation, amusement and socializing.

Click here for a PDF document with a "nut-shell" description of how the game is played. Also, for comprehensive curling instruction and information go to CurlTech.

Who Curls?

Curling is played by the young, old, men and women - most anyone can learn how to curl. Whatever the case, curling is a growing sport. Curling became an Olympic medal event in 1998 and since then the popularity and growth have increased greatly world wide. Because it is an ice sport, it is most prevalent in the northern regions of the globe; however, you now see it in places like Australia, New Zealand, China, Korea, Arizona, Florida and California.

No place in the world is the game more popular then in Canada, where there are an estimated 3 million curling fans; about 900,000 people play it each year, of which about 500,000 play on a regular basis.

Curling is very popular in Minnesota. All totaled, most of the curlers in the United States are from Minnesota and Wisconsin. Though very popular in the northern and eastern regions of Minnesota, curling has been largely void in the west central and southwestern areas of the state.



  1. What kind of organization are you?
    We are a 501c(3) non-profit organization dedicated to fostering competitive curling for youth and adults.
  2. Do I need a team to join Glacial Ridge Curling?
    No, however it is best. There are usually teams looking for a player or two, and there are always individuals and pairs looking to put together a team. Contact us and/or watch this website for details on upcoming events like our annual Open House, our annual Novice Spiel, and WCER Open Curling program. Glacial Ridge Curling will do our best to help facilitate the formation of new teams.
  3. Do you have to be a member of Glacial Ridge Curling to try curling?
    No. There is an Open Curling program that is sponsored by Willmar Community Ed and Rec, and is facilitated by the Glacial Ridge Curling. However you do need to be a registered and paid member of the Glacial Ridge Curling to play in a league.
  4. How many leagues do you have?
    Currently we have two. It does vary each year based on the number of teams; however, we currently have an "A" League, considered somewhat more competitive, and a "B" League, considered somewhat novice and less competitive. Both play on Wednesday nights and ALL teams get an even number of early and late draws.
  5. What is the difference between the leagues?
    Size, experience and competitiveness. The "A" League is about 14 to 16 teams and generally has curlers with two or more years of curling. Maybe a little more competitive. The "B" League is about 6 teams and has newer, more recreational curlers in it. This is were you get your start.
  6. Do I need to pay by credit card?
    NO. Credit card payment is available on line but not necessary. You have the option of printing out your registration invoice and mailing it in with a check. If you mail it in immediately, we will use the date you registered as your "joining" date, not the day we received it.
  7. Does our team need to have a paid alternate on our roster?
    No, it is not required but strongly encouraged. Every week there are players that can not make it; and every team needs to prepare for that. Your paid alternate can substitute on any team in the league.
  8. Does our whole team need to be registered to secure our spot in a league?
    Curling leagues are gaining popularity and fill up faster every year. It is on a first come - first serve basis. When a team has 4 regulars paid, they are in.
  9. When I register for a Family Membership, am I also registering my junior(s)?
    Yes, well sort of. Up to two juniors are included in the Family membership. The WCC will be contacting all of the Family Memberships by phone or email to verify if they have any junior league players - we will then register them through WCER for you.
  10. Does my membership include dues to the local and national curling associations?
    Yes, it does. In fact, the Glacial Ridge Curling recognizes the fact that the United States Curling Association and the Minnesota Curling Association are very important to the success of curling locally, nationally and world wide. Their contributions are great, both directly and indirectly for startups, existing clubs, and at the elite level of curling.
  11. How is curling played?
    There are four people on your team and each person throws two stones. You rotate so sometimes you use the "stick" thing and sometimes you push the rock.
  12. What is all the yelling about?
    The yelling is how curlers "communicate" what needs to be done. They are judging the speed and path, known as the "weight and line" of the curling stone in attempt to place it in the perfect strategic position to help win the end, and eventually the game.  
  13. What's up with the person standing around in the target with a stick?
    That person is the "skip", and they stand in the "house" holding a "broom", or sometimes called a "brush". The skip is the leader of the team; generally a very consistent thrower, good with curling strategy, and can "read" the ice and stone conditions to the teams advantage. The skip usually throws the last two stones and is the only team member that does not "sweep"; instead they have the task of contemplating strategy and calling the shots. However, curling is very much a team sport, and many believe that the most important quality of a good skip is the ability to listen and work well with others. 
  14. So what's up with all the people standing around in the circles talking?
    Curling is a very strategic game. It can get complicated and teams will discuss their options, sometimes at great length. It is for this reason that curling is more accurately referred to as "chess on ice"; as opposed to bowling or shuffleboard on ice.