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Curling Ice Explained

by Leif Öhman (writer) and John Minaar (editor)

This is the definite manual on how to create curling ice. It describes everything from the demands of the game to how to create the ice AND how to remove it after the season is over. The book covers how to handle different foundations to how to repair a hole on the ice surface.

In short, if you have any interest in how to create professional curling ice, this book is a MUST!

Read a sample chapter (300 kb pdf)



From the preface

This manual "Curling Ice Explained" (CIE) is both a renewal and a revision of the previous manual issued by the World Curling Federation, under the title of The Ice Technician's Resource Manual. The previous manual has been the basis of many sections of CIE, but all these have been rewritten for the linguistic consistency and to allow for full metrification.


  1. The development of curling
  2. The modern demands of curling on ice
  3. Specific definition of curling ice
  4. The floors of a curling rink
  5. Measuring, painting and lines
  6. Ice installation
  7. Flooding
  8. Curling ice in an arena
  9. Maintaining the ice pad
  10. Routines and equipment
  11. End of season
  12. Pebbling
  13. Temperatures and other readings
  14. Humidity
  15. Heating and ventilation
  16. Lighting
  17. Control systems
  18. Groundfreezing, heaving and permafrost
  19. Water
  20. Ice quality
  21. Curling stones
  22. The refrigeration system
  23. Energy
  24. Building a modern curling rink

Back side text

Hi Leif

Let me see if I understand what you're saying with this thing we call curling ice.

There is this substance called water, that is the source and sustenance of all life. It can be anything from a gas to a solid, and in its purest form it only exists in a laboratory. It changes in its behaviour at every change in temperature, and under every external influence. It wants to dissolve everything it touches, and it is indestructible. It wants to move and fill every space, and will always try to migrate to the driest part of its environment.

We have to use this substance to create a perfectly level surface that is solid, to support granite without distorting. To do this we freeze it. But this thing comes out of a tap, after it has been loaded with chemicals of many different kinds. They say it is clean drinking water, but when we use it at the end of the summer it is so dirty that the salts prevent the surface from freezing. So we cut and cut to get rid of salts, then we add more water and freeze it and cut again. Just to make life difficult water expands when it freezes so the low bits become the high bits and the high bits become the low bits. We add more water and they all change places again, so we cut and cut and add more water until it freezes level.

When it freezes every crystal is as individual as our faces are individual. Dr Masaru Emoto says there are happy crystals and unhappy crystals, and if we play nice music to the water when it freezes we will get happy crystals. Happy crystals are better because they bind together better. We must also be careful not to speak badly near the ice, because bad language makes bad crystals. Good water makes beautiful crystals. I've seen his pictures, but I don't understand about the music and bad language.

The crystals on the surface are soft and wear quickly, so we make it colder. The machine with the gas works harder and harder to get more heat from the building, because it is the heat that wants to melt the surface. As the crystals become colder they also become harder and grip to each other better, but if we do it too fast the tension grows too high and suddenly the floor is exploding with a crack. Then the machine with the gas decides to take the day off because it's sick, and the whole lot wants to be running water again. But okay, eventually we get it right and the surface is level and hard enough for the granite, and now we only have to find a way of keeping the crystals in place.

Next we have to take water, not any old water out of a tap but the cleanest stuff we can find, and we heat it to get the oxygen out and make it stronger, and we sprinkle it all over the ice so that we have one tiny drop for each square centimetre. This water freezes to the other crystals and becomes crystals too, and if we remember the Beethoven they will be beautiful crystals. Just to see if we got it right we shove the granite over it, but the granite must move in a certain way. The granite knocks the crystals about until they settle as best as they can, and if the granite doesn't move from end to end in 24 seconds and swing four foot we have to attack the crystals ourselves until we get it right.

And then, just to make life really difficult, we have to make this happen all the time, without fail, for two hours or more, while eight big and strong guys try everything they can to scrub the surface flat with pads and brushes in a game they call curling.

Sure we can do that. But isn't there something easier to work with than molecules of water?

Take care,

Hi John

You can use any liquid or molten metal you want, but the only thing is that it has to be in perfect level and have the right temperature when it sets. The friction coefficient has to be low and it has to be hardened with small pebbles on the surface as well. Then you have to talk to the granite and find out if he likes the pebbles you offer. Easy or?

My advice is stick to water.



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