It is difficult to practice curling in Denver.
The ice sport that most people only see during the winter Olympics has been steadily growing in popularity, but there is no designated place for budding broom-masters to practice.
The Denver Curling Club aims to change that with the construction of an ice rink dedicated to the sport in the Denver West Development, near 6th Avenue and Indiana Street.
According to the club, the Denver Curling Center would be the only ice between Seattle and Bismarck, N.D., dedicated to training. The center would be used to help youth, junior, adult, senior and wheelchair curlers prepare for national, international, Olympics and Paralympics competition, as well as a location to host regional and national events.
“We really want to offer classes for all ages, and we have an adaptive wheelchair curlers class” Pam Finch, president of the Curling Club, said. “We really need a facility that we have total control over so we can expand the sport.”
Currently the club uses The Ice Ranch in Littleton, but for the best curling experience, the ice needs to be completely flat. That is not the case at The Ice Ranch, since it has other uses and has a Zamboni running over the ice.
“We have more than 300 members in the club and just don’t have the time we need at The Ice Ranch,” Finch said. “The goal at the new location is to have the best ice conditions we can have.”
The club is working with SEM Architects on the design of the 20,000- to 21,000-square-foot building.
Plans are also being made to have the area annexed into Lakewood.
According to Scott Stevinson, who is heading up the building committee, the club originally considered buying an empty building or warehouse and redesigning it as a rink, but decided that it made more sense to build a new facility.
Stevinson said the project is still in the fundraising stage, with a goal of $500,000. As of July, the club had raised about $270,000, and since the club is a nonprofit, 501 (c)(3) organization, it is also investigating grants to help fund the project.
“The goal is to break ground by next spring and to open by the 2014 Olympics, so we can be open when the interest in the sport increases because of the games,” Stevinson said.
Finch said the sport is a great alternative for those who want to try something nontraditional.
“We’re really looking forward to getting the youth involved,” she said. “It’s a sport that people just fall in love with.”
For more information, go online to www.denvercurlingclub.com.