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Ingles Open Road visits the Ice Chalet, home of the Great Smoky Mountains Curling Club

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I’m Chris Bainbridge… inviting you to take a ride with me. This is an amazing place to find adventure in all shapes and sizes. Ingles has sent me on a mission to bring you the very best of what our beautiful home has to offer – food, fun, nature music, and more… all affordable, and all out of the ordinary. This is The Ingles Open Road.

Growing up the Olympics were always a big deal in my house. The music, the spectacle, the storylines – not to mention the glory of sport. Well today I’m hitting the ice to test my athletic prowess in an event that defines the winter Olympics. Today – we’re curling.

Welcome to the Ice Chalet – home of the Great Smoky Mountains Curling Club. That’s right, even down south we’ve got guys and gals trying their hands and brushes at this fun and challenging sport.

The history of curling dates back to 16th century Scotland. What started with some highlanders skimming rocks across frozen lochs and ponds evolved into a formalized competition. Queen Victoria was a fan. And today competition curling stones are still made from dense polished granite from Scotland.

These things are 44 pounds. The bottom of the stone is concave so that only the outside ring, called the running band, is in contact with the ice. This minimizes the friction and allows the stone to slide farther. And when you spin it, it actually turns – hence the name, curling.

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The goal is to slide these stones across 45 meters of ice and land them in the house – the target you see on TV – getting as close as you can to the center, called the button. The team with the most stones in the house and closest to the button after all the stones are gone, wins. They call it chess on ice. And it’s really, really hard to do!

But it’s also really, really fun. I’ve never done this before, but I’ve always wanted to try it. And that’s what this is all about – getting out and trying something new. The folks at the Great Smoky Mountains Curling Club are awesome. They have regular curling nights here at the Ice Chalet, and they’ll be glad to have you. And for those of you in Georgia and the Carolinas, there are also curling clubs in Atlanta and Greenville.

So, pile some friends in a car, fuel up at Ingles, and head to your local curling destination. To visit these amazing folks head to CurlKnoxville.com. And try to stay on your feet long enough to have a good time. Your weekend is waiting… on the Ingles Open Road.

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