ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Curling teams from across Alaska were in Anchorage this weekend competing for a chance to head to the Pacific International Cup, with the winners earning a trip to Vancouver for the big meet in April.
"It's a pretty big tournament that's going on here today," said Jessica Schultz, a two-time Olympic curler. "It's a pretty tight competition right now; been pretty exciting."
Teams arrived in Anchorage to play against each other with the winners getting the right to represent Alaska at the Pacific International Cup coming up Vancouver.
"There's a lot more to this sport than people think," Schultz said. "I think some things that surprise people is that the ice is textured, so it feels like an orange peel effect, and the other thing that surprises people is that not every rock is the same, so it's up to the players to sort of figure out the tendencies of the rocks and the ice conditions for that game."
Still, she said, everyone is accepted in this sport.
"The great thing about curling is it's good for all abilities," Schultz said. "So, whether you're in a wheelchair, or deaf, or you're 13 years old or 90 years old, you can be out on the ice playing."
Schultz said one of her favorite parts about the sport is the community aspect of it all.
"The atmosphere of it, the friendliness of it," she said. "Any time you walk into a curling club, you're feeling welcomed."
The winners of this weekend's tournament were Blake Rink of the Fairbanks Curling Club on the women's side, and Newman Rink of the Anchorage Curling Club on the men's side.
Video by photojournalists Phil Walzcak and Kim Daehnke.