You might think you’ve tried every ice and snow sport there is, but unless you’re already a member of a very strange and unique ice and granite-loving tribe, you probably haven’t tried curling yet.

While curling isn’t exactly the most adrenaline-inducing activity around, you might be surprised by the growing numbers of enthusiasts now practicing the sport. Curling clubs have sprouted up all over the United Sates and Canada in recent years.

So, What Is Curling, Exactly?

Curling got started in Scotland in the 16th century. Rocks called “loafies” were slid across the ice (frozen lochs, marshes, ponds, etc.) for sport and fun. Since then, the game has evolved some and moved inside for the most part, but the rules are still fairly easy to understand.

How to Play

Four person teams, called “rinks,” slide 42-pound granite stones down the ice. Team members then “sweep” in front of the stone in order to guide it into the correct position.

The goal is to place your team’s stone as close to the center of the 12-foot target area — known as the “house” in curling terminology — as possible. If you have more stones closer to the center than the opposition, you win. Of course, you can always knock the other team’s stone out of place while positioning your own, thus giving you a greater advantage.

The Curling Olympics

Curling was made an official Olympic sport in Japan in 1998, and since then, has been gaining in popularity. There’s a lot of strategy involved, and it’s a highly competitive sport, yet still somehow very social.

[World Curling]