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Where to Try Winter Olympic Sports in the Twin Cities

The Winter Olympics include a fascinating range of sports, especially for those who like an adrenaline rush. Those downhill ski jumps look amazing — and scary — but there are also sports like curling that always seems to catch people’s imaginations. If you’d like to try your hand at some of the sports you watched avidly during the Winter Olympics, you’re in luck, because you’ll probably find a number of related sporting venues close to many of the new homes in Minnesota.

Who hasn’t suddenly hunched over with an arm behind the back while the other swings as you face down a long hallway, envisioning yourself going for gold in speed skating. Fine, even if you haven’t, isn’t there something fascinating about the way they glide over the ice? If you’d like a chance to try out speed skating and see if it may be for you, head to Guidant John Rose Minnesota Oval. This 110,000 square-foot outdoor track in Roseville offers a free one-time trial session. Make sure you take along your own helmet, elbow and knee padding, and hockey or figure skates, just in case they don’t have speed skates in your size. One session and you may be hooked!

If you prefer to lie prone while going at high speeds on ice, Riverside Park in Minneapolis gives you the opportunity to try your hand at the luge. Yes, really! While adults can have a go, there’s also the real opportunity for young athletes, ages 9–13, to try the sled sport and actually make the USA Luge team. This June 2-3, Olympic luge coaches and athletes will be visiting Riverside Park to teach potential speedsters the basics, send them on runs down a paved luge course on wheel-equipped sleds, and test their physical fitness. Those who show serious potential could be invited to train at USA Luge sites in New York, Utah, or Michigan. For those serious about trying out, email info@usaluge.org.

Maybe you like to add some height to your winter thrills. If so, visit the Minneapolis Ski Jumping Club in Bloomington. Coaches are on site at all time to help beginners take on the eight-meter hill (you’re only flying a foot off the ground). If the sport appeals to you, you can train your way up to the 70-meter slope for more hang time and a bird’s-eye view of things.

Finally, if you have a fondness for brooms and crazy pants, you’ll be happy to know there are three curling clubs. Try the St. Paul Curling Club, where you can enjoy lunch as well as a two-hour session (instructor included). In Blaine, you can visit the Four Seasons Curling Club, where your group will learn from seasoned curlers. Winners make it up to the losers with a customary post-game round at the Sticks & Stones restaurant overlooking the ice. Finally, Minneapolis is home to the Frogtown Curling Club, where you can book a lane for a private group and even get some pre-game instructions.

So no matter where your new homes in Minnesota are located, you can probably find somewhere to try out some great Olympic-inspired winter sports. Determine your thrill level, make your reservations, and who knows, you could be a gold winner in four years! Or at least understand the judging a little better.

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