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Curling in San Francisco, California
Sporting chance: Once the butt of Olympic jokes, the 500-year-old sport of curling—a competition in which teams slide stones on ice toward a target—became a cult hit in the U.S. during the Salt Lake City 2002 and Torino 2006 games. One of the chicest places to curl is in California, where the San Francisco Bay Area Curling Club regularly takes over the ice at three major arenas: Sharks Ice at San Jose, Sharks Ice at Fremont, and the Oakland Ice Center. In honor of the Vancouver Games, the club is hosting extra clinics and lessons, along with Olympic viewing parties. Part sport, part party—it all rocks.
Training tip: To make the stones travel straighter and farther, curling teams include "sweepers" who melt the ice in front of the rock with a special broom. Who knew your household skills could be so handy?
Learning curve: Shallow. Curling takes only an hour or two to learn, and after a few lessons, some rookies are ready to compete at national events. Mastering strategy and reaching Olympic caliber, however, require years of training.
Two-hour curling clinics with the San Francisco Bay Area Curling Club are $15 per person; private lessons are $120–$150 for five weeks, one night a week.