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Tips from the Icemaker

You throw the perfect draw only to have it pick and you loose the end. Sound familiar? Time and time again missed shots are blamed on poor ice conditions. However, we curlers actually cause many of the ice problems. Almost all are caused by poorly maintained equipment. Here are some tips that you can follow that will allow us to have the best ice conditions possible.

1.    Cool Your Slider
When you walk out to the ice surface from the lounge or locker room your slider is at room temperature.  Immediately stepping into the hack and sliding down the ice with a slider at 20* will quickly melt the pebble in the slide path.  Later in the game it will effect rocks sliding into the house and your delivery of the stone. Stand on the ice to the side or behind the hack for a minute to cool the slider before stepping into the hack.

2.    Maintain Your Gripper
Debris left behind from grippers can be a nightmare. The little bits of rubber that come off a gripper can cause rocks to pick and leave the ice looking dirty. You should purchase a new slider gripper every season and give it a good wash with soap and water a couple of times a year. You can also purchase shoe gripper replacement kits.

3.    Clean Your Shoes
After walking around the lounge, clean your curling shoes before going onto the ice.  Use the electric shoe cleaner. 

4.    Keep Your Brush Head Clean
Your brush head collects dirt every game, you should brush it regularly to keep it clean. A small fingernail brush works well.  You can also wash them.

5.   What Not to Wear 

Fleece sweaters (and pants) shed little balls of material . The fluff from the fleece clothing ends up on the ice and causes rocks to pick. 

6.    Keep your Hands & Knees Off the Ice

Leaving your hands, fingers or knees on the ice for any extended period of time will cause problems.  Because your body is so warm , this will melt the pebble right off creating a flat spot that will cause the curling stone to pick.
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