The Fernie Curling Club has seen member numbers increase in recent years

Curling club preps for another year

The Fernie Curling Club is ready for another season, and regular leagues started on Nov. 5.

The Fernie Curling Club is ready for another season, and regular leagues started on Nov. 5.

Annie McFarlane, president of the Fernie Curling Club, said that she is excited for the upcoming season, as the club is more active than it has been in previous years.

“In our open league, we’ve got 16 teams this year, which is a record breaking thing for us. Not for history past, the Fernie Curling Club was huge many, many years ago,” she said. “It has grown back into being a happening curling club. And demographically, we have changed it dramatically as well. It used to be mostly 40 and 50 plus year olds and now it’s anywhere from 25 to 75.”

This year the club features different programs catered towards different age demographics, including a youth league, a seniors’ league and a drop-in recreational league, which starts in the New Year.

“For seniors, it’s Tuesday and Friday afternoons starting at 1 p.m. and it’s a $10 drop in if you do just want to drop in as a senior, or you can sign up or you can still sign up and be on the senior league. They go to different curling clubs in the region. They have an active social schedule as well,” McFarlane said.

The youth league is new this year, and will be under the management of a current member of the club. “A lot of our curling members are new parents and it won’t be long before their kids can start curling, which is how curling clubs grew back in the day,” said McFarlane. “The whole push for the curling association throughout the country is to get it back to getting younger people involved, so Fernie is certainly playing it’s part.”

The youth league will be for ages nine through 15 and starts on Nov. 9.

The thing that McFarlane is most excited about for the upcoming season is that Fernie is hosting a large regional curling competition.

“We’re going to be hosting the Men’s Regional Playdown, which is pretty exciting for us. That’s in December – the second weekend in December, and that’s basically all of the East and West Kootenay region curling clubs come together,” she said.  “Hosting the Men’s Regional Playdown is a big deal. I don’t even know if the players who have been here for 30 years remember hosting something like that.”

Overall, McFarlane is most impressed with how the curling culture has regrown in the last couple of years, reinvigorating the sport.

“Every year we’re growing and all of us on the board and in the club go, wow can you believe this is happening, kind of thing. All of it is because of who has joined the club. It takes a whole membership to create a great vibe – making it fun, bringing it back to the community.”

McFarlane credited the city for their support in ensuring the success of the curling club.

“The City has been extremely supportive. They’ve allowed us to grow at the pace that we want to grow and to do what we want to do and basically, they’re not interfering,” she said.

For more information on the curling clubs and the upcoming programs for the season, visit their Facebook page or check out a league night, starting at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday evenings.