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Curling will be a stone’s throw away at the downtown Burbank ice rink

Anyone who has ever wanted to try curling, the sport where players slide stones at a target and use brooms to guide them, will get three chances to do so in Burbank during the holiday season.

Downtown Burbank is hosting its annual outdoor ice rink, located behind Burbank City Hall at the corner of Third Street and Orange Grove Avenue, and it will be open to the public starting Thursday through Jan. 7.

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People will get a chance to rent some ice skates and skate laps around the rink. In addition, the Hollywood Curling Club, a nonprofit that promotes the winter sport, will host pop-up workshops at the Burbank rink on Dec. 24 and 31 as well as Jan. 7, during which club members will teach those who are interested in learning how to play the sport.

Each workshop will be an hour and cost $15 per person. The workshops will be held from 9 to 9:50 a.m. on those days.

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Liza Beres, president of the Hollywood Curling Club, said the organization hosted a curling workshop at the downtown Burbank ice rink last year, and it was a hit with those who participated. Last year’s workshop went so well that club members decided to come back and offer more days.

“It was a sellout [event] last year, and it’s looking to be a sellout this year,” Beres said. “It’s just a really great opportunity for people to try a sport that they might not otherwise ever have an excuse to try.”

Beres, who is originally from Calgary, Canada, said many people think that curling is an easy sport to play, but those who try it for the first time learn it is more difficult than they thought.

Beres said she would have beginners sweep the length of the curling sheet, which is typically about 150 feet long. At the end of the sweeping, she said many people end up getting winded.

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“You’re trying to put a lot of downward pressure on the ice along with a really quick back-and-forth movement while trying to match the pace of the rock,” Beres said. “It is significantly harder than it looks. People are amazed with how much stamina it takes.”

Though she did not start curling until she moved to California, Beres said she has fallen in love with the sport. She appreciates the teamwork and communication required to get the rock where it needs to go and the strategy needed to defeat opponents.

“It has a lot of similarities to shuffleboard and bocce ball, but there’s also an element of chess to it, too,” Beres said. “Curling is a strategy game, and you really have to think not just about your move, but about your opponent’s next move and your move after that.”

The rink’s hours will be from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

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