This is it–the night of our first bonspiel of the year! We lucked out over the past couple days, with our first truly below-freezing weather.


We’re coming down to the wire, but thanks to the weather and our ice makers, we’ll have playable ice by later today.

We’ve flooded several times since painting, and every flood has used purified water. The main flood was a special one–the air temperature needed to be warm, around 50 degrees, so the ice is warmer and softer. So the heater was flipped on.

Then the water is added slowly. This ensures that the new fresh ice will adhere nicely to the old ice, and not separate later. Then the heat is turned off and everything’s allowed to get cold again.

Tonight the ice was shaved; each sheet was shaved at least twice. Any impurities left in the water (dirt, minerals, what have you) rises to the top, and the shaver grabs them.

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It shaves off more than you might think!

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After the shaving is done and the debris is swept off the ice, the first pebbles are made.


Purified water is sprayed through a wand. The wand is moved over the ice in a back-and-forth motion. The droplets hit the ice and freeze.


(If you need an explanation of what pebbling does–and how curling gets its name–Smithsonian has an easy-to-read article here.)

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The first layer was a double layer, with extra water dropped/pebbles made. Then this layer was scraped off, to make sure everything was even. Then another, final layer of pebbles were made. During bonspiels, the ice is cleaned, re-pebbled, and scraped (just enough to take the top off the pebbles) between each game. (Here’s another article on pebbling and the importance of consistent ice.)

And now we’re ready to play! Good curling!

So, now you’ve seen the ice making process! If you want to start from the beginning, here are all our posts, in order:

Making Ice While the Sun Shines
The Big Flood
Painting the Ice
Circles and Lines