Ken and Courtney Mills gave an afternoon of instruction to Shawn and Lindsay Mattice at the Winchester Curling Club’s afternoon of free curling on Sun., Feb. 26. In this photo Shawn, on the left watches as Lindsay prepares to send her rock down the rink. On the right Courtney Mills is going to be helping Shawn get the hang of sweeping. At the other end of the rink, acting as the skip and showing Lindsay how to aim her rock is Ken Mills. Morin Photo

WINCHESTER – Winter can be long at the best of times, and finding something the whole family can do on a regular basis, or just as a couple can be a challenge.

The Winchester Curling Club is a great place to start looking for that winter activity you might have overlooked.

The club hosts a Learning to Curl program that begins in the fall and is designed to teach novice curlers everything they need to know to begin a lifelong relationship with curling.

The club also hosted a one-day event on Feb. 26 to coincide with Curling Day in Canada.

The afternoon featured free curling for anyone interested, and that includes an introductory afternoon to this winter indoor sport. Those new to curling or simply wanting to reacquaint themselves, can have an afternoon of curling supervised by a few of the clubs more experienced members.

The Winchester Curling Club held their free drop-in session on Sun., Feb. 26. All visitors had to do was wear a clean pair of shoes. There was no cost involved, just some enthusiasm, and patience as beginners took the first steps in discovering what curling was all about.

Ken and Courtney Mills have been active members of the Winchester club for the past ten years. They are friends with Shawn and Lindsay Mattice who live in Morewood.

Ken and Courtney have asked Shawn and Lindsay about taking some time to try out curling.

On Sunday they took the plunge and went to the club to take advantage of the free curling lessons.

“We wanted something we could do together,” said Lindsay.

“We have wanted to do this for quite some time,” she said.

Shawn said the afternoon was a bit overwhelming but fun.

Ken and Courtney worked as instructors for the afternoon of curling, explaining the game and all its different parts from strategy to scoring, the names of all of the positions on a curling team, and what they did, as well as the techniques for aiming, delivering, and sweeping a rock.

Courtney talked about the complexities of the game, including the ability of players to adapt to changing ice conditions.

Shawn said they would most likely join the club after their afternoon experience having a chance to get a close look at the sport.

Patti Shadbolt is a retired Winchester resident who used to curl on a regular basis, but over the years she got away from it. She took advantage of the free afternoon of instruction to get back in touch with her curling skills and to see if it was something she wanted to get back into.

“I curled in high school, and for part of my adult life,” she said.

“I did this to see if I wanted to curl again.”

From her perspective she likes the idea of curling and being part of a team but also having an opportunity to volunteer and enjoy the social aspect of the sport.